Sunday, July 26, 2009

Stuffed eggplant with Sante Fe rice and beans recipe

stuffed eggplant with santa fe rice and beansBack when I ate frozen dinners from time to time, one of the few that wasn't revolting was Smart Ones Sante Fe Style Rice and Beans. Apparently people haven't figured out how to make cooked chicken survive the freezer and microwave, even with millions of preservatives. Rice, beans, and cheese sauce, on the other hand, do just fine. Reeni from Cinnamon & Spice has the same love for this meal, and shared her re-creation of it. But, as usual, I couldn't leave the recipe alone. I happened to have an eggplant lying around, and started thinking that it might be a nice addition to the rice and beans.

Stuffed eggplant with Sante Fe rice and beans (adapted from Cinnamon & Spice)

1 large eggplant
1 Tbsp olive oil + more for rubbing eggplant
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
2 Tbsp chopped green chiles
1/2 cup corn (I used frozen - no need to thaw)
1 large tomato, chopped
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese

Remove stem end of eggplant, and cut it in half lengthwise. Rub cut side with olive oil, and place down on baking sheet. Roast at 400 for about 20 min, or until it's tender. Let it cool, and then scrape out the inside of the eggplant (leaving about 1/4"), and chop the innards into small chunks. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until tender, and then add garlic and eggplant chunks. Let this cook for a few minutes, and then stir in rice, chiles, corn and tomato. Remove from heat and add yogurt and spices. Put eggplant shells in a large baking dish and fill them with the stuffing mixture. Put extra stuffing in a separate dish or fill around the eggplant. Top with cheese and bake at 400 for 20 min. Serves 3.

Reeni did a great job of re-creating the frozen meal, but of course it was far better fresh and without additives and preservatives. I loved the combo of eggplant with it, too, because the silkiness of the cooked eggplant fit right in with the creamy texture provided by the yogurt. I just discovered the first tiny eggplant growing on my plant a few days ago, so I'm hoping that I'll eventually be able to make more variations on stuffed eggplant later in the summer.


Reeni said...

What a wonderful idea to stuff an eggplant with this! It looks so yummy! Thanks for trying it - and giving me a shout out!

Soundtrack of My Heart said...

Love the idea! Will try this for sure. You made me think of my favorite eggplant recipe.

There is a traditional meal that my mother made growing up involving fried eggplants, meat, tomato based sauce all over rice. It seems that in the US, we only like eggplant if it is breaded, or just smothered in something that will take its natural flavors away.

Katie said...

Reeni - I had a lot of fun trying out your recipe. Thanks for a great one!

SoMH - You're completely right about taking the natural eggplant flavors away. Recently I've fallen in love with sauteing or grilling eggplant so that you can actually taste it, and I really don't understand why people would want to cover it's amazing flavor.

Katerina said...

I have never seen stuffed eggplant before, cool!

Anonymous said...

I often wonder what to do with eggplant, besides grilling it or baba ganoush...this is a great idea!

Katie said...

Katerina and Alta - I'm not sure what made me think of stuffing the eggplant, but I'm glad I did! I highly recommend it if you're looking for something new to do with one.