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Old 04-07-2017, 03:26 PM   #1
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Eggplant Meatballs needs tweaking

Tried a recipe from Food Network Mag. Jan/Feb '15. Was called Eggplant Meatballs with Marinara Sauce.

It certainly has potential but I didn't find it very good as in not enough texture. When I think of meatballs I think of biting into a ball of ground meat. These were very disapointing but the flavour was there, just not the texture.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

My first notes after tasting were:-

Entire eggplant was baked in the oven first as they wanted it to completely collapse, then scoop out flesh. Think it would be better to under cook as the then pieces would have a bit of body but still finish in the final baking.

Use "real" breadcrumbs. At first I really liked the idea of using 'Panko' instead of 'regular' crumbs - as again, there would be more body. But they just melted into the eggplant and still no texture.

Be very careful as to the amount of salt added, the cheese has plenty.

Be sure to "turn" while baking. They bake for 20 minutes but mine only 'browned' on the bottoms. Very disappointing.

The marinara sauce definitely helps with the overall taste.

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Old 04-09-2017, 08:54 AM   #2
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So you're trying to get meatiness out of eggplant, I take it? The dish sounds like an Italian take on an Indian Eggplant Bharta.

I've been experimenting with these things for years. Maybe I could suggest a thing or two:

1. Diced mushrooms. Diced very fine, add a bit of "bite" to a softer recipe and work well with Italian dishes.
2. TVP and/or seitan are normal commercial alternatives for meat textures.
3. Rice. Long grain, cooked, brown rice (to avoid the soft stickiness of shorter white rice) can add some "bite" to each ball as well.
4. Ground Flax. Acts as eggs in helping to bind the ingredients.
5. Ground Chia seeds. Same as flax only more of a "nuclear option" if your recipe is massively watery :)

I'd also recommend keeping the eggplant well-roasted. Under-cooked eggplant will still retain a lot of its water and release it as you're cooking the meatballs later on... basically "melting" them.
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Old 04-09-2017, 10:19 AM   #3
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Thanks VegGuy. All sound like excellent suggestions for me to try.

Like the mushroom and rice idea's. Would probably use shiitake as they seem to hold their shapes better.

Not big on Flax or Chia but still an alternative.

Had not thought about the eggplant 'melting' in the finishing cook part - so I will be sure to roast entirely, .
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'eggplant, egg, eggplant, meat, meatballs, recipe

Eggplant Meatballs needs tweaking Tried a recipe from Food Network Mag. Jan/Feb '15. Was called Eggplant Meatballs with Marinara Sauce. It certainly has potential but I didn't find it very good as in not enough texture. When I think of meatballs I think of biting into a ball of ground meat. These were very disapointing but the flavour was there, just not the texture. Does anyone have any suggestions? My first notes after tasting were:- Entire eggplant was baked in the oven first as they wanted it to completely collapse, then scoop out flesh. Think it would be better to under cook as the then pieces would have a bit of body but still finish in the final baking. Use "real" breadcrumbs. At first I really liked the idea of using 'Panko' instead of 'regular' crumbs - as again, there would be more body. But they just melted into the eggplant and still no texture. Be very careful as to the amount of salt added, the cheese has plenty. Be sure to "turn" while baking. They bake for 20 minutes but mine only 'browned' on the bottoms. Very disappointing. The marinara sauce definitely helps with the overall taste. 3 stars 1 reviews
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