Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cajun Eggplant Pirogues

Bev over at Beverly's Back Porch made stuffed eggplant a few days ago and it got me thinking. Years ago I attended the New Orleans Jazz Fest and the first day I was there, I bought an eggplant pirogue at the fairground. I never forgot it. When I saw Bev's recipe, I decided to re-create the pirogue I had eaten in NO.

First I made some Cajun seasoning. It's really easy and much cheaper than buying it. Mix 3 tablespoons of oregano, thyme, granulated garlic, granulated onion, salt, pepper, paprika and a bit if cayenne pepper to taste.

Peel your eggplants. Cut them into thirds. Scoop out the flesh until you have about a 1/2 inch shell.

Hole in the boat!!! Hole in the boat!!! Be careful that you don't cut through and make a hole in the boat. You should have pieces that look like small canoes. Pirogues are boats used to navigate the bayous, thus the name for this recipe.

Place some seasoned flour in a dish and some beaten eggs in another.

Dip each eggplant boat in flour, then egg, then flour again and place them in hot oil to fry.

Remove them when they are golden and crisp. Place them on paper towels to drain.

In a heavy pot, saute' about 5 cups total of diced red peppers, green peppers, onions and celery.

Sprinkle 5 tablespoons of seasoning over the veggies as they cook.

Add 5 tablespoons of flour and continue to stir and cook for a few minutes.

Add about 4 cups of seafood stock. Cook and stir until the liquid is absorbed and the sauce thickens.

Add 4 ounces of cream cheese and 4-5 ounces of cheddar.

Whisk 4 eggs in a bowl and temper them with some of the hot vegetable mixture. Then stir them back into the mix.

Add 1 1/2 cups of panko.

Shell and devein a pound or so of shrimp.

Place them in a few tablespoons of melted butter in a medium hot frying pan. Sprinkle them with a couple tablespoons of the seasoning. Cook them until they turn pink.

Add a can of lump crabmeat. I was out of lump so I used claw meat.

Stir the shrimp and crab into the vegetable mixture.

Stir in a bunch of chopped green onions.

Put some panko in a bowl, add 3 tablespoons of seasoning and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.

Mound the shrimp/crab mixture on top of each eggplant pirogue. Then sprinkle with some of the breadcrumb mix.

Bake these at 375 for about 30 minutes.

Serve them hot from the oven.

They can also be served at room temperature. These could be cut into small pieces and served as appetizers too.