Friday, 20 October 2017

Mallorcan Eggplant Pastel

Our eggplant this year did not do wonderfully well; you've heard that tune somewhere before. However, what did get produced happened all at once. I now have a pile of eggplant to use up. With the zucchini over and the tomatoes and peppers never really having happened, we will not be freezing any Ratatouille this year.

A little searching brought me to this recipe; Pastel Mallorquín de Berenjenas. Which is to say, Mallorcan Eggplant Cake. It is in fact another flat Mediterranean meatloaf. The recipe did not specify what kind of meat to use, and I have changed the proportions a fair bit. I didn't intend to get ham to put in the tomato sauce, although I did intend to get mushrooms, but then I forgot to go out and buy any. And then I forgot to put the tomato sauce on at all...

Never mind. This was very well received and it was quite delicious. Four of us did some pretty heavy damage to this the first time around, then I crumbled the leftovers and heated them in the forgotten tomato sauce, and served them on pasta for lunch.

I used a combination of lamb and beef. Between the lamb being a bit fatty and the amount of oil needed to sauté the eggplant, when I took it out of the oven the pastel had quite a lot of oil sitting on top. I drained it off, and after that it did not seem too greasy so no harm, no foul.

6 servings
2 hours 30 minutes - 1 hour 30 minutes prep time

Mallorcan Eggplant Cake (Meatloaf)

Prepare the Eggplants & Peppers:
800 grams (1 3/4 pounds) eggplants
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, or more I'm afraid
250 grams (1/2 pound) red peppers

Wash and trim the eggplants, and slice them about 1/2" thick. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brush the eggplant slices with the oil and cook them gently in the skillet until lightly browned on both sides and fairly soft. You will need to do them in batches and you may (likely) need to add a bit more oil - if there is not enough they will scorch rather than cook. Pile them up on a plate as they are done, and continue with more slices until they are all cooked.

Meanwhile, wash and dry the peppers, and roast them under the broiler until charred on all sides - turn them as they go to char them evenly. Set them aside to cool once they are done, then peel them, core them, and discard the seeds. Chop them fairly finely.

This can be done a day ahead. Otherwise, just let cool enough to handle. The eggplant, once it is cool, should also be chopped fairly finely. They can be mixed together.

Finish the Pastel: 
1 large onion
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
500 grams (1 pound) ground beef, lamb, or a combination
a little oil if needed
1 teaspoon rubbed oregano
1 teaspoon rubbed savory
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 large eggs
2 to 3 cups of tomato sauce, heated

Peel and chop the onion. Peel and mince the garlic. Wash, dry, and chop the parsley.

Heat the large skillet to medium-high heat again. Add a little oil if your meat is very lean, otherwise crumble it into the pan. Add the onion and cook, mashing and breaking the meat up into fine bits until browned through. Add the eggplant and pepper mixture and mix in well. Cook, stirring regularly, until it all seems fairly well amalgamated; about 5 or 7 minutes.

Add the garlic, and all the seasonings to the meat mixture and mix in well. Continue to cook and stir for a few minutes more.

Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool while the oven preheats. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Beat the eggs, and mix them into the meat and eggplant mixture. Press it down into a shallow baking pan such as an 11" x 13" lasagne pan, or other 3 quart/litre pan. Bake for 1 hour.

When the pastel is done, let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. If it has a lot of oil on top when you remove it from the oven, drain it off as best you can. You can serve it from the baking dish or unmould it onto a serving platter. At any rate, serve it with the hot tomato sauce.

Last year at this time I made Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa & Feta Cheese.

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