> Lemon and Strawberries: Greek "little shoes" - stuffed eggplants (Papoutsakia)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Greek "little shoes" - stuffed eggplants (Papoutsakia)

Another delicious Greek dish! Now eggplants are at their peak, so I wouldn't forgive myself if I didn't make papoutsakia. The name in Greek means literally "little shoes", which I find adorable and accurate at the same time, as they do resemble little shoes when they're cooked.
These incredible stuffed eggplants are filled with aromatic meat sauce and topped with béchamel. 
It takes some time to make them, but trust me - the effort really pays off!
As with some other Greek dishes, I always make enough papoutsakia to have it for 2-3 meals.  They're as delicious as fresh or even better the next day - reheated with some melted halloumi cheese on top.

 INGREDIENTS (for 12 papoutsakia): 
  • 6 small to medium size eggplants
  • 2 large red onions
  • 800g minced pork, beef or lamb
  • 500ml tomato paste
  • 4-6 garlic cloves
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1-2tsp oregano 
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1tsp sugar
  • olive oil for frying

Start off with cutting eggplants into halves, sprinkle them generously with salt and set aside to get out some of the bitterness. Next, preheat a pan with 1-2tbs olive oil. 
Chop the onions and fry them for few minutes, add minced meat and crushed garlic. Sprinkle with spices - cinnamon, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, mix all the ingredients in a pan and fry for another 5-10 minutes. 
Preheat your oven to 200°C (392°F) and brush a big baking pan with some olive oil. Rinse the eggplants in a cold water to remove juices and peel some of the skin with a peeler - this will make them cook faster.
Hollow them using a small knife to cut around the edges, leaving a 5mm-1cm border and use a spoon to take out the flesh. Don't throw it away! We'll add the flesh to our meat sauce.
Place the eggplants on the baking pan and bake them in the oven until golden-brown.

While eggplants are still in the oven, cut the flesh into small cubes and add it to the meat sauce. Sprinkle with extra salt & pepper, mix and let it cook for another 10 minutes, stirring the whole mixture once in a while to prevent it from burning. Add tomato paste, sugar, salt and extra oregano or cinnamon if needed, lower the heat and let it simmer for 15-20minutes.

Start preparing the béchamel sauce.


  • 60g butter
  • 60g flour
  • 1,5 glass milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste
Dissolve butter in a pot. When it's completely melted add flour. Fry until it's slightly golden and add milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients together with a whisk. Make sure your sauce is smooth and there is no flour lumps in the mixture. Cook it for 5-10 minutes and when it's thick enough take it off the heat and set aside to cool down. You can place the pot in a bowl filled with cold water to save some time. 
Tip: If you notice your béchamel has some little lumps of flour, rub it through the sieve with a spoon. 

When your sauce is lukewarm, add eggs and whisk it all together.
Fill up the eggplants with the meat sauce using a spoon. Depending on the size of the vegetables you'll need 3-5 tbs of stuffing per piece.

Finish them off with béchamel sauce.
Put papoutsakia in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the sauce thickens and reaches nice, golden-brown color.
Serve warm with some feta cheese on the side and fresh bread. It goes well with cooked rice too!


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