Papoutsakia (Eggplant Stuffed with Meatsauce and Bechamel)

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Papoutsakia are sort of like individualized moussakas. The word literally translates to “little shoes,” because I guess they kinda-sorta look like that. ūüôā You take smaller eggplants, halve them and scoop out the flesh, then fill them with a warmly spiced meatsauce and bechamel. They are delicious, and adorably so.

Although eggplant is the common vegetable used as a vessel, you can certainly use others. My grandma would often make these with various squashes, anything from zucchini to delicata. I didn’t start liking eggplant until I was older (and it’s still not my favorite, though I do enjoy it now, especially burnt and made into a dip with tahini or yogurt a la Ottolenghi) and I wasn’t sure what the kids would think, but they devoured these. It helps they are huge meatsauce fans and that bechamel is one of life’s greatest pleasures, I guess.

I typically make my Greek meatsauce with tomato paste but I wanted something slightly saucier for this so I used crushed tomatoes. I highly recommend the use of kefalotyri or mizithra but obviously not everyone has access to that. If you don’t, opt for a salty, sharp cheese like Pecorino Romano or a really good Parmesan. I must say I really miss the little Greek shop a couple blocks from my old place because¬†I could just get mizithra to my heart’s desire. Moving away from it was big on the “con” list when it came to deciding whether to leave the city. ūüôā

Papoutsakia (Eggplant Stuffed with Meatsauce and Bechamel)

  • I would definitely make these with squash

  • Kathleen McFadden

    Have you frozen this prepared, doing the baking out of the freezer?

    • elly

      I haven’t tried it Kathleen. I would worry a little about the texture of the bechamel, but I’m really not sure. If you try it let me know!