Thursday, May 12, 2011

From My Recipe File: Roasted Eggplant-Pomegranate Casserole

I was looking through my recipe files for inspiration and found this vegetarian (vegan if you leave out the goat cheese), gluten-free casserole. I know eggplant is a bit expensive right now and pomegranate seeds can be too, if you are not extracting them yourself, however the tastes are spectacular for such a humble dish.  Try it with the millet if you can.

I also liked how it kind of fits the flavor profile I've been cooking with lately which is somewhat  Middle Eastern/Arabic/Turkish.

Roasted Eggplant-Pomegranate Casserole
4 Servings

Millet is available in bulk food bins. Four cups of cooked brown rice is a good substitute.

2 eggplants, 1 pound each
¼ cup olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup pomegranate juice
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. salt
12 oz. baby spinach
4 cups cooked millet (see below)
6 ounces crumbled soft goat cheese, divided
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup chopped parsley and or mint

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice eggplants in half vertically, place face down on baking sheet greased with 1 Tbs. olive oil. Bake 30 minutes until cut side is browned and eggplant is completely softened. Let cool. Shred flesh with fork. Discard skins.

Lower oven to 350 degrees. In a large fry pan, heat 2 Tbs. oil, sauté onions until golden, add garlic. Sauté 1 minute. Add juice. Cook until syrupy. Add peppers and salt. Stir. Add half the spinach, sauté until cooked down. Add remaining spinach. Sauté. Mix in shredded eggplant and cooked millet. Combine thoroughly with two-thirds of the cheese. Turn into a casserole greased with remaining oil. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for 40 minutes. Just before serving scatter pomegranate seeds and chopped herbs over top.

To cook millet: Rinse and drain well 1 cup millet. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in a large pot. Add millet and stir until lightly toasted. Add 2 cups of boiling water. Bring to a boil. Cover. Lower heat to simmer for 20-25 minutes until water is absorbed. Take off heat, leave covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

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