Melitzanopilafo - Eggplant Pilaf


There are many traditional Greek recipes for vegetables and rice as a main course. This simple Greek recipe, made with eggplant and seasoned with fresh herbs, makes a delicious vegetarian main course, but can easily be served as a Greek meze and as a side dish to simple grilled or pan-seared meat or fish. Extra virgin Greek olive oil brings everything together and makes this unique Greek island plant-based specialty very craveable!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 to 1 cup / 60 to 240 ml extra-virgin Greek olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 medium eggplants trimmed and cut into ½ inch / 12mm chunks
  • 1/2 cup/100 g long-grain rice such as Greek nihaki or basmati or Carolina, a medium-grain variety
  • 2 cups/350 g peeled seeded, and finely chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup chios souma tsipouro, or dry white wine
  • 2 cups/450 ml water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

  1. In a large, wide pot heat l/4 cup/60 ml of the olive oil over medium heat and cook the onions until soft and pale gold, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and stir for a few minutes to soften. Add the eggplant chunks and cook until they begin to soften.
  2. Stir in the rice and toss to coat in the oil. Pour in the tomatoes and the water or wine. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and simmer until the rice and eggplants are tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. About 5 minutes before removing from the heat, add the oregano and parsley. Just before serving, stir in all of part of the remaining cup/180 ml olive oil, if desired.

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