Serves 8-10. Recipe is by Corinne Cook. The dressing can be heated and served in half of an eggplant shell or simply served from casserole. You will have dressing leftover after filling 8 halves. The recipe can easily be halved, if desired.
4 medium-size purple eggplants
Salt, black pepper, cayenne, divided
2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (red or green)
1?3 cup chopped celery
Reserved pulp from eggplant
1 1/2 cups beef broth
2 cups rice, cooked according to directions
Breadcrumbs if stuffing into shells (plain or seasoned)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Peel eggplant and cut pulp in 1-inch cubes or prepare eggplant shells. You may have to cook eggplant halves in batches. Cut eggplant in half. In large, shallow dish add water to just cover bottom of dish. Lightly salt the water. Place eggplants (cut side down) in baking dish. Microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes. The pulp of eggplant is just softened. Remove from water, place cut-side down to drain and cool.
3. When cooled, using a spoon or small knife, remove eggplant pulp, leaving 1/4-inch thick shell. Cut eggplant pulp into 1-inch pieces and set aside.
4. In large skillet, brown ground beef until no longer pink. Pour off fat. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and cayenne.
5. Add chopped onion, bell pepper and celery. Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
6. Drain the reserved eggplant pulp and add it to the meat mixture.
7. Add beef broth, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, cook rice according to directions on package.
9. Taste meat mixture for seasoning, then stir cooked rice into hot meat mixture.
10. Fill shells with dressing. Top with a sprinkling of bread crumbs.
11. Heat shells in oven for 15-20 minutes or until heated through and serve hot.