Papoutsakia (Greek Baked Stuffed Eggplant) Recipe

Akis Petretzikis Papoutsakia recipe

Greece is widely known for its mouth watering food and one of its most popular dishes is Papoutsakia.

Papoutsakia is stuffed eggplants that are first baked until soft and then filled with a tomato-based mince sauce, topped with bechamel sauce and cheese, and baked again until they are beautifully golden.

The dish is called papoutsakia (little shoes) because its shape resembles little shoes.

Due to its ingredients, the dish tastes a lot like Moussaka, however with a host of health benefits, being made with eggplants.

Eggplants are a nutrient-dense food, meaning they contain a good amount of vitamins, minerals and fibre in few calories.

We hope you enjoy this delicious Papoutsakia recipe by none other than Akis Petretzikis.

Akis Petretzikis Papoutsakia recipe
Papoutsakia Recipe

Papoutsakia Recipe

Papoutsakia Ingredients

For eggplants and ground meat

  • 3 eggplants, medium sized
  • 3 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon(s) thyme
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove(s) of garlic
  • 1 pinch granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoon(s) thyme, dry
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) cloves
  • 250 g ground beef, ground
  • 40 g red wine
  • 400 g canned tomatoes
  • 50 g gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 tablespoon(s) mint
  • salt
  • pepper

For the béchamel sauce

  • 20 g butter
  • 20 g all-purpose flour
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 250 g milk, at room temperature
  • 50 g gruyere cheese, grated
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) nutmeg

To serve

  • 1 tablespoon(s) parsley
  • olive oil, some
  • 1kg of large eggplants
  • 500g minced beef
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 glass of red wine
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, grated
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • grated cheese (parmesan, cheddar, graviera, halloumi, kefalotyri, etc.)
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:

  • 1/3 of of flour
  • 50g of butter
  • 2 cups of milk (room temperature)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Papoutsakia Method

For the eggplants

  • Preheat oven to 200* C (390* F) fan forced.
  • Cut the eggplants in half, lengthwise and remove the stems.
  • Use a sharp knife to score the flesh in a crisscross manner without tearing the skin.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Spread over the surface of the eggplants with your hands.
  • Line a baking pan with parchment paper and add eggplants cut side down.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, until they soften.
  • When ready, remove from oven and transfer to an oven proof baking dish, skin side down. Press down on the flesh to create an “indentation” to add the ground meat filling.

For the ground meat mixture

  • Place a nonstick over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and let it get very hot.
  • Coarsely chop the onion and garlic. Add them to the pan.
  • Add the sugar, thyme, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper.
  • Stir with a wooden spoon and sauté for about 5 minutes, until they caramelize nicely.
  • Add the ground meat and sauté for 2-3 minutes until golden.
  • Add the wine and wait until the alcohol evaporates.
  • Add the tomatoes and allow the mixture to boil for 10-15 minutes, until it reduces.
  • When ready, remove from heat and set aside to cool a little.
  • Add the gruyere, parsley, thyme and mint.
  • Mix and fill the eggplants with a spoon.

For the béchamel sauce

  • Place a pot over medium heat.
  • Add the butter, flour, salt and pepper. Whisk until the butter melts and the mixture is completely combined.
  • Add the milk in 5 batches, while continuously whisking and wait for each addition to become completely incorporated before adding the next.
  • As soon as the first bubbles appear on the surface, remove from heat.
  • Add the gruyere, nutmeg, pepper, salt and egg yolks. Whisk until completely incorporated.
  • Use a spoon to spread the béchamel sauce over the ground meat filling and sprinkle with ground nutmeg.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden.
  • Serve with some extra virgin olive oil and finely chopped parsley.

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