I absolutely love Greek/Mediterranean cuisine, so any time I'm able to actually try something from said areas, it makes my day. A few weeks back, I had such a day and made this wonderful meal from one of my Greek cookbooks. Not quite sure why it's dubbed a casserole, maybe its a culturally changed word, but hey, I'll go with it. Anyways, hope you have a bit of time to set aside for this, because it is definitely a meal you want to wait for!
Beef and Aubergine (Eggplant) Casserole
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and brown the meat on all sides (You're just going for the color, not really cooking it just yet!). As the meat browns, set aside the finished pieces on a plate, you'll be coming back to these soon.
2. Using the remaining oil, add in the onion and saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the oregano and garlic. When the garlic becomes aromatic (when you can easily smell the wonderful scent of cooking garlic) re-add the meat to the pan and pour the white wine over and let it bubble for a few minutes.
3. Add in the tomatoes and enough hot water to barely cover or be level to the meat. Bring liquid to a boil, lower to a simmer, cover, and cook for 1 hour, until tender. While that is cooking, trim and slice the eggplants into 3/4-1in rounds and then slice those in half. Using a skillet, dry fry the eggplant briefly to lightly brown them (Again, not needing to cook, just going for color). When done, and set aside on a plate, season the cooked slices.
4. When the hour is over, season with salt and pepper. Add in the eggplant slices and shake the pan a bit to distribute them evenly (cooked eggplant tends to mush real easily, you want to make contact with the slices as minimal as possible). Add a bit more water to level off with the slices and cover the pan again, simmering for another 30 minutes.
5. Sprinkle the parsley over the top and simmer mixture for a few more minutes before turning off the heat entirely. Transfer to a serving dish or serve straight out of the pan/pot.
Serve with toasted pita bread and/or a green salad.
When I first tried to cut through my pieces of meat, the knife instead tugged on it and tore the meat apart, it was so tender and juicy. This recipe makes a lot of food, so it's great for when friends come over or you just want lots of left overs for the rest of the week. Though, you might want to go for the latter option, going by what my father said the left overs tasted even better!