I don’t have a lot of vivid memories of my childhood but eating this eggplant casserole is one thing I do remember very distinctly. I remember what it looked like. I remember the flavor. I even remember the smell. I have absolutely no idea why I would remember eating this particular dish but I do. You would think with such good memories of this eggplant casserole I would have made it for my family. But I haven’t. Until today.
I got the urge to make this recipe when I saw these beautiful eggplants at the grocery store. My mom always used the dark purple eggplants in her dish but I wanted to try these. I think they taste the same! But it sure was enjoyable looking at these and seeing the beautiful stripes, before cutting them into chunks.
One thing I’m not sure about is why this is called a casserole. I always think of a casserole as something baked in the oven. This dish is not. It is cooked in a skillet on a stovetop. But this is how it is written on Mema’s recipe card so we’re going with it! No matter what it is named though, this dish is really good and hearty! I ate one bowl and was completely full. My youngest even ate some for lunch!
One thing to note, the instructions on the recipe card are pretty vague so I made some assumptions. One assumption was incorrect. I talked to mom after all was said and done and found out she usually peeled the eggplant. I did not peel mine so it stayed in bigger chunks as it cooked instead of breaking down and mixing into the dish completely. It’s good the way I made it but you need to like eating big chunks of eggplant. If you peel the eggplant it will break down as it cooks and mix in with the ground beef and onions much better.
Also, the recipe has no measurements. I noted the measurements I used in parentheses below. It’s really one of those recipes you can just throw in whatever amounts you want depending on your taste.
ground beef (I used 1 lb.)
onion, chopped (I used about 1/2 c.)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
garlic salt to taste
eggplant, peeled and cubed (I used 2 c. unpeeled)
rice (I used about 1 c. of wild rice, mom always used white rice, any kind will work though)
Put the eggplant in a bowl of water to soak. Cook rice according to package directions. Brown ground beef and onion, adding salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste. Drain fat and add back to skillet. Drain eggplant and add to beef. Cook just until eggplant cooks down (I added a little water, maybe about 1/2 cup total). Add cooked rice and stir.