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Greek stuffed Eggplant recipe (Melitzanes Papoutsakia)

Greek stuffed Eggplant recipe (Melitzanes Papoutsakia)


Extra juicy and absolutely delicious! This aubergine based traditional Greek recipe will certainly amaze you! ‘Melitzanes papoutsakia’ (Greek stuffed eggplant) is a Greek dish which receives its name from the resemblance of its shape with little shoes. The taste and the ingredients used for this ‘Papoutsakia’ recipe are very similar to the popular Greek dish moussaka.

‘Melitzanes papoutsakia’ recipe – Variations

To prepare this delicious Greek stuffed eggplant dish (‘melitzanes papoutsakia’ recipe), the eggplants are first seasoned and baked until soft and sweet and then stuffed with a delicious tomato based meat sauce, topped with a cheesy béchamel sauce and baked to golden perfection.. One can find two variations of this traditional Greek recipe, which are both included. The most well known is the Greek stuffed eggplant recipe using béchamel sauce, while the other calls for creamy potato based puree for the topping. Both are delicious, so it’s up to you to decide! Serve this impressive Greek stuffed eggplant dish (melitzanes papoutsakia) with a nice Greek salad and some crusty bread. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 5 eggplants
  • 500g minced beef (18 oz.)
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes or tomato juice (passata)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 100g grated kefalotyri or any hard yellow cheese (3.5 oz.)
  • olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2-3 tbsps chopped parsley

For the mashed potatoes

  • 4 large potatoes, boiled
  • 50g milk (1.7 oz.)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 egg yolks

For the béchamel sauce

  • 100g flour (3.5 ounces)
  • 100g butter (3.5 ounces)
  • 900ml milk (3 and 3/4 cups)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • a pinch of nutmeg

Instructions

  1. To prepare these extra juicy shoe-shaped ‘melitzanes papoutsakia’ recipe, cut the eggplants in two pieces and carve them crosswise (the flesh). Season the eggplants and place them in a colander for about half an hour. Wash them with plenty of water and drain them on some kitchen paper.
  2. Preheat the oven at 200C. Season the eggplants with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Place the eggplants (with the skin facing up) in a baking tray, lined with parchment paper. Bake the eggplants for 40 minutes, until softened.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the meat sauce for the ‘papoutsakia’. Peel and chop the onions and garlic. Place a large pan on medium heat, add some olive oil and the onions and sauté, until softened. Stir in the garlic and sauté. Turn the heat up, add the minced beef breaking it up with your spoon and sauté. Deglaze with the red wine and wait 1-2 minutes to evaporate. Stir in the canned tomatoes, the cinnamon stick, a pinch of sugar, the oregano and season. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer with the lid on for about 30 minutes, until most of the juices have evaporated. At the end, add 1-2 handfuls grated cheese and chopped parsley and stir.
  4. Prepare the béchamel sauce for the Greek stuffed eggplant. Use a large pan to melt some butter over low-medium heat. Add the flour whisking continuously to make a paste. Add warmed milk in a steady stream; keep whisking in order to prevent your sauce from getting lumpy. If the sauce still needs to thicken, boil over low heat while continuing to stir. Remove the pan from the stove, stir in the egg yolks and season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Whisk quickly, in order to prevent the eggs from turning an omelette!
  5. If you choose to top these Greek stuffed eggplant dish with mashed potatoes, boil the potatoes in hot water for 10 -15 minutes, until soft. Add them in a food processor, along with the milk, butter, the egg yolks, freshly ground pepper and mix until smooth.
  6. Layer the eggplants at the bottom of a baking pan, with the skin down. Remove some of the flesh, to make room for the filling. Sprinkle the eggplants with some grated cheese and spoon the meat sauce on top of each piece. Top with the béchamel sauce or mashed potatoes and sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake the ‘melitzanes papoutsakia’ at 180C for 20 minutes, until nicely coloured.
  7. Serve this delicious Greek stuffed eggplant dish as a starter or main dish with a nice Greek salad and some crusty bread. Enjoy!

Recipe image gallery:

 
 

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23 Comments

  1. How many egg yolks ?

  2. Thanks for your reply ! Will be trying them tomorrow.

  3. This looks AMAZING and i will be making it ASAP.

  4. Thanks for posting! I enjoy your site very much! I’ve made your chicken Gyros (used the pork marinade) with tzatziki sauce, twice and it was a huge hit for both of my dinner parties. I am making them again for a birthday dinner for our daughter. We are addicted to them! Can’t wait to make more of your recipes.

    • Hi Tracy, thank you for your great feedback and so glad that you are enjoying them as much as I do! Hope you find many more to try with your friends and family! And don’t forget to spread the word around, it’s what keeps us going

      love, Eli

  5. I made the melitzanes papoutsakia recipe with the potato topping and everyone loved it ! They were gone before I knew it ! Thanks for the recipe !

  6. Hi, I’m considering trying to make this for one, me of course ;), and would like to know the size of canned tomatoes called for. Also, could it be made in a toaster oven?

    • Hi Linda

      The canned tomato is the standard supermarket tin size (about 400grams). I would not think that a toaster oven would be sufficient to make this, as the aubergine needs heat all around it to bake it throughout but it all depends on your particular oven. If you can control its temperature and it has a door in the front to shut the heat inside then it should be OK.

      Love

      Eli

  7. Hi again, I forgot to ask, can it be frozen? Thank you

    • Hi there! Yes you can freeze it, at step 6, before the last round of baking, i.e. bake the aubergines as in step 2, assemble the dish as step 3-4-5 and after sprinkling the béchamel and cheese on step 6 you can freeze them in a tupperware box. Once frozen, you can reheat at 180C for about 40 minutes (20 minutes to defrost and another 20 mins to bake).

      Love

      Eli

      • ♥ Thank you. When the Greek Food Festival is over on Sunday this will be what I make but for now I will let them do the cooking!
        Love and light
        Linda

  8. Why would you season the eggplant and then wash the seasoning off of it and then season it again?

    • michelboto says:

      Salting eggplants and letting the water drain out is common in Mediterranean cooking to get rid of the bitterness in the skins. Modern scientific research shows that salting the eggplant is not actually removing most of the bitter compounds, but the added salt at least decreases the human tongue’s perception of bitterness, very much like how adding a little bit of salt to bad coffee improves the taste.

      It’s one of those cases where tradition makes a lot of sense, but for all the wrong reasons 😉

  9. Madeleine says:

    Try using wholemeal flour to fry the eggplants as I found they do not absorbs the frying oil as much

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  12. Thank you thank you thank you. When I read your recipes I think of my mama & my childhood. Thank you.

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  14. Thanks for this recipe! An idea for the ‘ leftover’ aubergine flesh: make melitzanosalata, a Greek aubergine dip. It’s very easy: chop the flesh very finely and put it in a bowl. Add salt and pepper, a bit of finely grated garlic, some lemon juice, chopped parsley, a splash of (kalamata) olive oil and mix it togerther. What I like to do is to add some crumbled feta cheese as well. Serve at room temperature as a side dish with some fresh bread (e.g. ciabatta). Enjoy 🙂

    Kali Orexi from Holland

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