Papoutsakia - Stuffed Aubergines
Meaning "Little Shoes" in Greek, Despinaki tried this
dish as a starter on her last visit to Greece and was well impressed.
So we wanted to recreate it our own way.
We washed and dried a large aubergine, trimmed off the stem and
cut it in half lengthwise. With a small knife and a spoon, we
scooped out the seeds and discarded them. We then scooped out
the rest of the pulp, leaving the skin and a little flesh. We
chopped up the pulp and set it aside.
For the sauce we sautéd a finely chopped onion in some
olive oil. Once the onion soften and turn translucent, we added
the chopped aubergine pulp and stirred for a few minutes. We stirred
in some minced lamb and cooked it until brown. We stirred chopped
tomatoes, fresh parsley and mint, chopped garlic, and some seasoning.
We let the sauce simmer for about 20 minutes until reduced, then
removed it from the heat and it set aside.
For the béchamel sauce we warmed some whole
milk in a pan with half an onion studded with cloves, a pinch
of nutmeg and white pepper. In another saucepan we melted butter
on low heat. As soon as it was melted and warm we added flour
and stirred with a wooden spoon until there were no lumps. We
then added the warm milk slowly, stirring constantly until the
We then lightly sautéd the aubergine halves
in olive oil until softened. We then placed them in a baking dish
and spooned in the filling to the top of the side rims. We then
spread over the béchamel sauce and crumbled over some feta
cheese and more fresh mint.
We then baked them in the oven until the béchamel was
browned and the aubergines were soft. Smaller aubergines could
be used for serving as starters.