A delicious first course particularly popular in the northeastern states of the United States, New Haven Baked Aubergines is a tasty mixture of minced pork, mushrooms and sour cream. The recipe given below will serve four people as a first course or, served with a mixed salad and crusty bread, two people as a light lunch.
2 medium-sized aubergines
2½ teaspoons salt
2 fl. oz.
½ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
½ oz. butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 lb. mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
6 oz. cooked pork, minced
3 fl. oz. sour cream
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 oz. fresh breadcrumbs
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 teaspoon paprika
Cut the aubergines in half, lengthways. With a sharp knife, make cuts in the pulp to within ,J-inch of the skin. Sprinkle the aubergines with 2 teaspoons of the salt and set aside for 30 minutes to degorge.
Squeeze the aubergines to remove as much liquid as possible and pat them dry with kitchen paper towels. Set aside.
In a large frying-pan, heat the olive oil over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, place the aubergine halves, cut sides down, in the pan and cook them for 7 to 8 minutes or until they are light brown. Turn the halves over and cook them for 8 to 10 minutes on the other sides. With a slotted spoon, remove the aubergine halves from the pan and set aside on kitchen paper towels to cool slightly.
Preheat the oven to fairly hot 375°F (Gas Mark 5, 190°C). With the teaspoon of vegetable oil, lightly grease a baking dish large enough to hold all of the aubergine halves in one layer. Set aside.
Wipe out the frying-pan with kitchen paper towels. Add 1 ounce of the butter to the pan and melt it over moderate heat.
When’the foam subsides, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until it is soft and translucent but not brown. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.
Stir in the pork, sour cream, the remaining salt, the pepper and allspice and mix well. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for a further 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Using a spoon, scoop out the aubergine flesh, leaving the skins intact. Chop the flesh very finely and add it to the mixture in the frying-pan. Stir well to blend.
In a small bowl, combine the bread-crumbs and grated cheese, stirring well to mix. Set aside.
Spoon the pork and mushroom mixture into the aubergine skins and arrange the stuffed halves in the prepared baking dish.
Sprinkle over the breadcrumb and cheese mixture. Cut the remaining butter into small pieces and dot them over the breadcrumb mixture. Place the dish in the oven and bake the aubergines for 10 to 15 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Remove the dish from the oven. Sprinkle over the paprika and serve.