“Papoutsakia” translates to “little shoes” in Greek, though explanations as to why cannot seem to be found. This dish is easy, versatile and cheaper than a dinner on the Greek islands! If you’ve got any leftover ingredients in your fridge (mushrooms, carrots, celery, sausages, etc), feel free to add them to the stuffing too, it all adds to flavour. These can be made vegetarian too – as pictured above, mushrooms and lentils were used, topped with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs!
2 medium-sized aubergines, cut lengthways
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
250g lean minced meat (beef, lamb, chicken)
3 tbsp tomato purée
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp oregano
5 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
100ml red wine
125g feta cheese, crumbled
- Preheat oven to 200˚C and then using a spoon, scoop out the flesh of each aubergine ‘shoe’, leaving a small border around the edges. Keep the flesh to one side.
- Rub the 4 halves generously with olive oil and sit them upright in a shallow baking dish. Cover with foil and bake them in the oven for 15-20 mins. Depending on the size of your aubergines, you may need to alter the baking time. Smaller aubergines would be fine in 10mins.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan. Coarsely dice up the scooped out flesh, add to the pan, and fry over medium heat for about 5 mins. Set to one side.
- Add another 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan and gently fry the onion until soft and transparent. Add the minced meat, stirring to break up any chunks. Once browned, stir in the garlic, tomato purée, tomatoes, wine, spices, salt and pepper. Mix well and leave to simmer for 15-20 mins, allowing the juices to boil down. You want it to reduce till you see about 1 tablespoon of juice.
- Divide the mixture between the aubergine ‘shoes’ and return to the oven for 15 mins. 5 mins before the end of cooking, sprinkle the cheese over the top of each stuffed aubergine and return to the oven to finish off the cooking. Drizzle over some extra-virgin olive oil before serving.
Charlotte de Drouas