Greek Lamb Stuffed Eggplant


3 medium eggplants, split lengthwise
4 T olive oil
1 pound ground lamb
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
2 T minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Essence, recipe follows
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 medium Roma plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
2 T minced fresh oregano
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup crumbled Feta

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Halve the eggplants lengthwise and with a sharp knife score the pulp in a diamond pattern, being careful not to pierce the skins. Scoop out the pulp with a spoon, leaving a 1/2-inch shell. Chop the pulp.
Place the eggplant shells on a greased baking sheet and lightly brush the inside of each half with about 1 teaspoon of olive. Bake until the shells are softened but not brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
In a heavy skillet heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add lamb and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. Add the onions and bell peppers to the drippings in the pan and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, eggplant, salt, Essence and pepper, and cook until the eggplant is soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they give off their liquid, 3 minutes. Add the parsley and oregano, and stir well. Remove from the heat. Stir in 3/4 cup of bread crumbs and mix well into the vegetables. Stir in the feta, and re-season as needed.
Divide the filling among the eggplant shells, and sprinkle the remaining 1/4-cup of bread crumbs over the tops. Bake until the tops are golden and the stuffing is heated through, about 30 minutes.

Essence:  (From Emril Lagasse)
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

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