Stuffed Bulgur Aubergine with Chermoula

Higgidy

STUFFED BULGUR AUBERGINE WITH CHERMOULA

Recipe by Higgidy.

This dish is the modern, Middle Eastern equivalent of the filled jacket potato, using velvety, soft aubergines instead of spuds. If the chermoula topping seems a bit of a stretch, use a good-quality jarred version instead – you’ll find it in most supermarkets next to the harissa paste.

SERVES 4

4 aubergines
3–4 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the bulgur salad
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large red onion or 2 small, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon paprika
450ml vegetable stock
150g bulgur wheat
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

For the chermoula
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
15g coriander, roughly chopped
15g flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
100ml olive oil
teaspoon salt, or more to taste if needed
freshly ground black pepper

1. First, make the bulgur salad. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and cook for 1–2 minutes, then stir in the garlic and paprika.

2. Bring the vegetable stock to a simmer in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Add the bulgur wheat and gently cook for 8–10 minutes until the grains have plumped up and are cooked through. Remove from the heat and stir through the red onion mixture and parsley. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, make the chermoula. Heat a small, dry frying pan over a medium heat, add the cumin and coriander seeds and cook for 2 minutes until just toasted. Transfer to a small mixing bowl, add the remaining chermoula ingredients and mix to combine. Season to taste, then set aside.

4. Preheat the oven to its hottest setting and, once it is roasting hot, turn it to the grill setting. Pierce each aubergine twice with a small, sharp knife. Place on a baking sheet under the grill, with the oven door closed, for 25 minutes or until the aubergine skin is black and the flesh is collapsed and soft, using tongs to turn halfway through this time. Remove from the oven, then slice each hot aubergine lengthways down the centre, being careful not to cut all the way through, and split open. Drizzle with the olive oil and lemon juice, and season with the sea salt and some pepper.

5. Serve the aubergines heaped with a spoonful of the bulgur wheat salad and a spoonful of chermoula.

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