Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Eggplant Bulgur and Tomato Casserole with Yogurt Topping
Martha Rose Shulman
Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Yield Serves 6 to 8
This is a vegetarian moussaka, with bulgur standing in for meat. The tangy Balkan-style yogurt and egg topping has a wonderful pillowy texture, much lighter than béchamel. I like to begin this dish by making the tomato sauce, which I often prepare a day ahead.
Featured in: Yogurt: Much More Than A ‘Health Food’.
For the tomato sauce
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small or 1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste)
2 pounds fresh tomatoes, quartered if you have a food mill; peeled, seeded and chopped if you don’t; or 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes in juice or crushed tomatoes in purée
freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
For the gratin
1 large eggplant (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds)
1 cup coarse bulgur (No. 3)
Extra virgin olive oil (1 to 2 tablespoons)
freshly ground pepper
1 cup thick Greek-style or drained yogurt
Salt to taste
pepper to taste
paprika to taste
2 ounces about 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until onion is tender, about 5 minutes, and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about a minute, and add the tomatoes, salt to taste, pepper, sugar, cinnamon, paprika and allspice. Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook until the tomatoes are bubbling. Stir together, turn the heat back to medium-low, partly cover and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and the sauce is thick and fragrant, 25 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from the heat. If your sauce is chunky, either put it through a food mill or pulse it in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the eggplant in lengthwise slices. Sprinkle slices with salt and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes (this step is optional). Meanwhile, cook the bulgur. Bring 2 cups water with salt to taste to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the bulgur, and when the water comes back to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until all of the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, place a clean dish towel over the pan and cover with the lid. Let the bulgur sit while you roast the eggplant.
3. Rinse the eggplant slices and pat dry. Line baking sheets with foil and brush the foil with olive oil. Lay the eggplant slices on the foil, brush lightly with oil and place in the hot oven. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until eggplant is beginning to brown, switching the baking sheets halfway through. Remove from the oven and fold the aluminum up over the eggplant slices so that they continue to steam and soften in the foil envelope as they cool completely. They should be thoroughly tender by the time they cool. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Oil a 3-quart baking dish. Spread a small amount of tomato sauce on the bottom, and spoon in half of the bulgur in an even layer. Cover the bulgur with eggplant slices and spread about half the remaining tomato sauce over the eggplant. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the tomato sauce. Repeat the layers, but don’t sprinkle on another 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. If you have extra eggplant slices, make a top layer of them, on top of the tomato sauce.
5. Beat together the eggs, yogurt and 2 tablespoons of the remaining Parmesan. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Spoon over the top in an even layer and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Place in the oven and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until golden. Remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes or longer before serving.
Advance preparation: All of the elements of this casserole will keep for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator, as will the assembled casserole, without the egg-yogurt topping. Make the topping right before baking. The casserole can be baked ahead and reheated in a low oven.
Nutritional information per serving (6 servings)
282 calories; 4 grams saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 105 milligrams cholesterol; 35 grams carbohydrates; 10 grams dietary fiber; 216 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 14 grams protein
Nutritional information per serving (8 servings)
212 calories; 3 grams saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 4 grams monounsaturated fat; 79 milligrams cholesterol; 26 grams carbohydrates; 8 gram dietary fiber; 162 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 11 grams protein