Our next eating local recipe is one of my own creation! I am not a big fan of eggplant (too slimy!), so I wanted to come up with a creative way for me and T to enjoy these little gems. We recently went to an Ethiopian restaurant in Bloomington after T had been to one out east on business, and were convinced we could duplicate the dishes we had in the restaurant at home.
We started out by fermenting our own injera! It wasn’t a total disaster, but can definitely be improved upon. We discovered that we needed to make some niter kibbeh and berbere paste to make any and all Ethiopian recipes. We made a lentil dish, and a beef dish (subbing local bison for the beef) and we had a lot of niter kibbeh and berbere paste left over.
Thus spawning the idea for the eggplant! We had some leftover local pork sausage in the fridge, so not only was it superbly fresh and local, we didn’t let anything go to waste. Oh, and the green onions were from my garden!
12 baby oriental eggplants, roughly the same size, sliced symmetrically
½ pound ground pork
6 tablespoons berbere paste
4 tablespoons niter kibbeh, melted
¼ cup Greek yogurt
Thinly sliced green onions or chives for garnish
- After slicing the eggplants symmetrically, scoop out the seeded part in the globe of the eggplant. Discard scooping.
- Brush eggplant slices with niter kibbeh and place on grill to cook until lightly browned and softened. Remove from heat and set aside, tenting with foil to keep warm.
- While eggplant halves are cooking, brown ground pork with a tablespoon of niter kibbeh in a skillet.
- Add beriberi paste to cooked ground pork, stirring until incorporated and warmed.
- Stuff pork into spooned out eggplant and top with a dollop of Greek yogurt, a few drops of melted niter kibbeh, and a sprinkle of green onions or chives.
Niter kibbeh is an Ethiopian-spiced, clarified butter. For each pound of unsalted butter, add:
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons ginger root, finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8th teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8th teaspoon ground fenugreek
½-inch cinnamon stick (half inch)
1 whole clove
Let butter and spices simmer very gently (do not let the butter brown or burn) for 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, strain butter through cheesecloth until clear, meaning no spices or butter solids remain. This will remain fresh for 3 months in the refrigerator in a sealed jar.
Berbere paste is a red pepper and spice paste indigenous to Ethiopia. It requires many ingredients, but is very easy to make. For a great recipe, visit PepperFool!