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Pork & Shrimp Stuffed Eggplant
1 h 30 m
1 h 30 m
“The Thai-inspired pork-and-shrimp filling for this stuffed eggplant recipe is generously seasoned with lemongrass and green curry.”
Eggplant & Stuffing
3 eggplants (1-1¼ pounds each)
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon peanut or canola oil, divided
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeño pepper
2 teaspoons finely chopped lemongrass (see Tips)
½ cup chopped scallions
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro stems (save leaves for sauce & garnish)
1 pound lean ground pork (see Tips)
6 ounces peeled raw shrimp, coarsely chopped
1 cup cooked brown jasmine rice
2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste (see Tips)
1 tablespoon fish sauce (see Tips)
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons peanut oil or canola oil
¼ cup finely chopped shallots
¼ cup finely chopped scallion, white part only
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Thai green curry paste
1 13-ounce can “lite” coconut milk
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
¼ cup whole cilantro leaves
1Preheat oven to 400°F.
2To prepare eggplant: Halve eggplants lengthwise, keeping stems intact. Using a paring knife, score the cut sides in a crisscross pattern, taking care not to cut into the skin. Brush the cut sides with 1½ tablespoons oil. Place the eggplants cut-side down in a large roasting pan. Brush the skins with ½ tablespoon oil.
3Bake for 15 minutes. Turn eggplants over and bake until the flesh is quite tender, 15 to 20 minutes more; remove from the oven. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees .
4To prepare stuffing & stuff eggplant: Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, jalapeno and lemongrass; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add scallions and cilantro stems; cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Transfer to a medium bowl.
5When the eggplants are cool enough to handle, scoop out the pulp, leaving about ¼ inch of pulp in the skin. Chop the eggplant pulp; add to the bowl. Stir in pork, shrimp, rice, 2 tablespoons curry paste, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime zest and egg. Return eggplants to the roasting pan. Mound about 1 cup stuffing into each.
6Bake the eggplants until the stuffing is firm and registers 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 30 minutes.
7To prepare sauce: Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a small saucepan over medium heat; stir in shallots, scallion whites, garlic and ginger; cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon curry paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in coconut milk, 3 tablespoons lime juice, fish sauce and 2 teaspoons brown sugar. Bring to a simmer.
8When the eggplants are done, pour the sauce over them and bake 5 minutes more. Serve garnished with cilantro leaves.
Tips: Look for lemongrass—a woody, scallion-shaped herb with an aromatic lemon flavor—in the produce department of well-stocked supermarkets or Asian food shops. To use, trim off the root end and grassy top. Peel off the woody outer leaves. Thinly slice the softer inner stalk, then finely chop.
Depending on your supermarket, it might be hard to find a lean option for ground pork. But it's easy to make your own in a food processor. Choose a lean cut, such as loin or tenderloin. Cut into pieces and then pulse in a food processor until uniformly ground (being careful not to overprocess, turning the meat into mush). Or ask your butcher to grind it for you. Using lean pork or lamb instead of regular ground pork saves up to 164 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat per 3 ounces of cooked meat.
Look for prepared Thai green curry paste—a fiery mixture of green chiles and Thai seasonings—in the Asian section of large supermarkets. The heat and salt levels vary depending on brand. Be sure to taste as you go.
Fish sauce is a pungent Southeast Asian condiment made from salted, fermented fish. Find it in the Asian-food section of well-stocked supermarkets and at Asian specialty markets. We use Thai Kitchen fish sauce, lower in sodium than other brands (1,190 mg per tablespoon), in our recipe testing and nutritional analyses.