One of my favourite traditional Greek dishes to order in a taverna is ‘Melitzanes papoutsakia,’ otherwise known as eggplant little shoes. Like the majority of Greek dishes, this stuffed aubergine concoction combines simple ingredients that have been slow cooked and seasoned to bring out an array of beautiful flavours that taste fresh and fulfilling.
If you know the Greek way of life well then you probably know that food cooked in your typical taverna does not come out in half, or maybe even an hour’s time. As my Rhodian friends like to say, the way they do things on the Greek islands is ‘slowly slowly.’
Of course, here in fast paced Britain we are a bit more ‘quickly quickly’ and so I’ve adapted a few of the ingredients so that you can have your eggplant little shoes up and running in just over half an hour instead of two.
This dish is great for using up ingredients you already have in your fridge and although the aubergines are typically stuffed with lamb mince, other meat mince such as beef or turkey can be used for a more healthy option.
- 2 aubergines halved
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 250g lamb or beef mince
- 2 tsp oregano
- Red pepper
- Half red chilli
- Courgette chopped into small pieces
For the tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 tsp each ground cinnamon, coriander and cumin
- Salt and pepper to season
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp sugar
- Heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Make the tomato sauce in a saucepan by heating the oil and frying the garlic for 2-3 minutes until soft.
- Add the spices and chilli and fry for 1 minute, stirring well.
- Pour in the tomatoes and sugar and allow to simmer for 20 minutes until thickened.
- Scoop out most of the flesh from the aubergines and lay them in a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of oregano and oven bake for 15 minutes until soft and going slightly golden. After 5 minutes of baking, add the pepper and courgette to the roasting tray
- For the stuffing, mix the mince with 2 tsp of oregano in another saucepan, season with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown.
- When the aubergines are ready, spoon the mince and tomato mixture inside. Sprinkle with more oregano and salt and pepper if needed and bake in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
- Serve on its own or accompanied by spiced rice or a tzatziki side sauce. Yammas!