Transylvanian Eggplant Casserole

2 medium eggplants, cut crosswise -into 1/2 inch slices
2 cups chopped onions
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups sliced mushrooms
4 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon sweet hungarian paprika
salt and freshly ground -black pepper to taste
4-1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons pine nuts
4 eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2/3 cup pine nuts ground
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter
chopped fresh parsley
red bell pepper slivers

Place the eggplant slices on an oiled baking sheet, salt them lightly, and cover them with aluminum foil. Bake at 400°F. until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Lower oven to 350.

Meanwhile, sauté the onions in the oil until translucent. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook, covered, on medium heat until the mushrooms have released their juices and become soft. Stir in the tomatoes, marjoram, thyme, paprika, salt and black pepper. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain off most of the juice. Set aside.

Combine the rice, lemon juice, parsley, and pine nuts. To assemble the casserole, oil a 9x13x2 1/2-inch baking dish. Spread half the rice mixture on the bottom and cover with half the eggplant slices. Spoon half the sautéed vegetables on top of the eggplant layer. Repeat this process using the remaining rice, eggplant, and vegetables. Pour the eggs evenly over the top of the casserole so that they drizzle down into it.

Combine the breadcrumbs and nuts and sauté them on low heat in the oil or butter for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Top the casserole with the nut mixture and bake it, covered, at 350, for about 30 minutes. Then uncover and bake for 10 minutes until the top is crisp and the casserole still moist.

Garnish with parsley and peppers.



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