Rollin’

Stuffed Eggplant Rolls

Makes ~ 30 – 40 rolls.  Can be served as a main or side.

INGREDIENTS

2 large wide eggplants

5 – 6 long eggplants

2 red peppers, diced

2 yellow onions, diced

8 oz feta

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp oregano

1/3 c tom paste

2 – 3 cloves garlic, crushed

Cilantro for garnish

Lots of olive oil for frying

Lots of salt for the eggplants plus more to taste

Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Use a peeler to roughly peel the skin from the wide eggplants and then cut into rounds ~ 1 inch thick.  Place in a large bowl or pan and salt generously to remove the water. Let stand for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Chop the tops from the lengthier eggplants and slice lengthwise into long, thin pieces or use a mandolin.  Place in a flat pan or baking tray and salt generously to remove the water. Let stand for at least 20 minutes.
  3. When the wide rounds are ready, rinse off the salt and pat dry.  Bring a pan to medium high/high heat and add a few tablespoons of olive oil.  You don’t want the oil to smoke, just get the pan hot enough to fry the eggplants.  Using tongs, add the eggplant rounds and fry until they are dark brown on each side, and then place them in a bowl to the side.  They should be very soft and able to press right through them with the tongs.
  4. When the eggplants are fried, in a large pot or deep pan sautee the onions with a dash of olive oil (I use residual olive oil from the fried eggplants) until translucent, about 15 minutes.  Then add the peppers and sautee another 5 – 7 minutes.  Then bring the temperature down to medium/medium low heat and add the cumin, paprika, oregano, garlic, dash of pepper, and tomato paste.  Stir to combine and let cook on low heat for a minute or so.  Turn off the heat and add the fried eggplants, using the back of a large spoon to smash the eggplants into the rest of the mixture.  Once combined, remove from the heat and place the filling in a bowl to cool.
  5. Rinse the long eggplant slices well and leave them in the pan with some water so they don’t oxidize too much.  When the eggplant filling has cooled completely to room temperature, add the feta, crumbling it in your hands and incorporating it into the mixture.
  6. Preheat the oven to 325F/160C. Using one (or two if needed) large rectangular pans, brush the bottom with a little olive oil.  Take the long eggplant slices, pat dry with a paper towel, and start filling them with the mixture by adding a small amount to the wider bottom end of the eggplant strip and rolling.  If some of the filling comes out of the sides just put it back into the bowl.  Place the eggplant rolls in the pan going in the same direction with the loose end facedown.
  7. When you’ve prepared all your rolls, add a dash of olive oil on top of the rolls and fill the pan with water about half way up the sides.  Cover with foil and cook for ~30 minutes covered.  Remove the foil, swirl the liquids around so they run over the tops of the rolls a bit to prevent drying, and cook for another 10 minutes uncovered until soft.
  8. Serve with fresh cilantro as garnish and a dash of olive oil. 

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