Thursday, April 22, 2010

Macedonia - Tomatoes and Eggplants

Macedonia is mountainous and landlocked surrounded by the countries Albania, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Kosovo. A former Yugoslav Republic that seems to be searching for its identity. A place where one can experience the best of old and new with Romans ruins, medieval monasteries, the 900-year-old tree at Ohrid along side modern shopping centers, bars and well-dressed men and women in Italian fashions.

The cuisine can best be described as a combination of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern. They have a nice variety of fruits and vegetables in their dishes because the climate is warm and the land is fertile. Most meals are accompanied by a Shopska salad. It is made with tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, roasted red peppers and sirene cheese. I did not make a Shopska salad but we were impressed with the meal I prepared of Tomatoes filled with Meat and Stuffed Eggplant.

Tomatoes Filled With Meat

600g veal or ground beef
1 onion
4 eggs
Salt and pepper
Cooking oil

Tomato juice and rice

With a knife take off the top of each tomato. Take out the core.

Fry chopped onion and add meat, salt and pepper. When the meat is fried, add chopped parsley, beaten eggs and some cooked rice. Fill the tomato with this mixture and put in baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes.

Serve on cooked rice on a plate with tomato juice or ketchup.

Stuffed Eggplant

4 small eggplants (or 2 big)
Lemon juice
4 TBSP olive oil
White wine
1 Lb ground meat
2 onions
3 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper
2 eggs
Cheese ( I used Pecorino Toscaro Fresco)

Cut each eggplant along its length. Scoop out the eggplants to make shells and reserve the filling. Salt the eggplants and set aside. After awhile dry them with paper towels and add some lemon juice.

Place the eggplants in heated oil; add some wine and fry for about 10 minutes. Remove eggplants and place them in a saucepan.

Heat oil and fry chopped onion, ground meat, garlic, eggplant filling and salt and pepper. Then add parsley and eggs. Fill the eggplants with the mixture and then top it with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

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