Aubergines Farcies Duxelles

Aubergines Farcies Duxelles (oh-bair-jeen FAHR-see doo-scll) may be served as a first course or as an accompaniment to roast lamb or grilled, sauteed or roast chicken. This dish may be prepared the day before it is baked.

It is also an ideal dish for freezing. When the aubergines are stuffed, allow them to cool. Place in the freezer and leave until hard, then wrap aluminium foil. Return to the freezer to store. To serve them, place in a casserole and sprinkle with the cheese and breadcrumbs. Cook in the oven until hot throughout.

3 large aubergines

½ tablespoons salt

3-J- tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 ½ oz. butter

1 lb. mushrooms, chopped freshly ground black pepper

6 oz. cottage cheese

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

½ teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

4 tablespoons white breadcrumbs

Remove the green stems from the auber-gines and cut them in half lengthwise. With a sharp knife, make cuts in the pulp to within inch of the skin. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of salt and lay the aubergines, cut-sides down, on kitchen paper towels for 30 minutes to drain.

Squeeze the aubergines to remove as much liquid as possible and dry on kitchen paper towels. Put the aubergines, skin side down, in a flameproof dish. Pour a little olive oil over each one. Pour a little water into the dish to just cover the bottom.

Place under the grill and cook for about 10 minutes until they are soft. Remove from the dish.

Using a spoon, scoop the flesh out into a bowl, leaving the skins intact. Roughly chop the flesh.

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 400°F (Gas Mark 6, 200CC).

Put the remaining olive oil in a large frying-pan. Fry the onion and garlic slowly over low heat for about 5 minutes or until it is tender but not browned.

Add all of the butter to the frying-pan and add the mushrooms. Saute the mix-ture gently for another 5 minutes. Season with the remaining salt and 3 grindings of pepper. Remove from the heat and stir the aubergine flesh into the mushroom- and-onion mixture.

In a small bowl, mash the cottage cheese with a fork. Stir into the aubergine mixture. Add the parsley and thyme. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Fill the aubergine shells with the mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Grease a clean flameproof dish with a little butter. Put the filled aubergines into the dish and cover with aluminium foil. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes, remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the crumbs are crisp, golden and brown.

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