Baked Stuffed Eggplant with Port Wine
2 Large Eggplants, about 1 ½ pounds each
8 Ounces Ground Beef, Lamb, or Veal
1 Medium Onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 Teaspoons Salt
Few grinds of Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Parsley, chopped
1 Teaspoon Mint, chopped
1 Cup Long Grain Rice
½ Cup Pine Nuts, toasted
1/3 Cup Raisins or Drained Currants
3 Tablespoons Port Wine
2 Cups Chicken Broth
1 Cup Dry Bread Crumbs
¼ Cup Olive Oil
Cut the eggplants in half length-wise. Sprinkle them with salt and turn them face down in a colander to drain for about an hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake eggplant for 30 min., or until tender. Alternatively, place eggplant halves on a microwave platter, cover loosely with plastic wrap and cook in microwave oven for 12-14 min., or until tender.
In a large skillet, brown the ground meat with onion for 5-7 min., or until the meat is no longer pink. Remove the meat with slotted spoon and set aside. To the pan drippings add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, parsley and mint. Stir in rice and cook for 1 min. Add the pine nuts, raisins or currants, Port and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover the pan and simmer the mixture until the liquid is mostly absorbed, about 15 min. Stir in the meat and set the rice mixture aside.
When the eggplants are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh, leaving about a ½-inch shell. Chop the flesh coarsely and add it to the rice mixture. Divide the eggplant rice mixture among the four eggplant halves.
Sprinkle the surface with breadcrumbs and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake 30 min., or until the eggplant is heated through and crusty on top.