V Tamari-Ginger Meatball and Eggplant Casserole
From Eating Well Magazine. Ready in about an hour.
2 pounds eggplant, preferably Japanese cut into 1-inch chunks (I used 1 of each)
4 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
¼ cup reduced-sodium tamari
¼ cup Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 ½ pounds lean ground pork
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
Pinch of salt
¼ cup cornstarch
4 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup chopped lightly salted peanuts
1 small red hot or sweet red pepper, seeded and minced
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place eggplant in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish (or similar-size 3-quart baking dish). Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil; toss to coat. Bake until starting to brown, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine tamari, rice wine (or sherry), sugar, vinegar and water in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
Combine pork, garlic, ginger, white pepper and salt in a medium bowl. Using about 3 tablespoons for each, form the mixture into 18 meatballs. Place cornstarch in a shallow dish. Roll meatballs in it until well coated. (Discard any remaining cornstarch.)
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the reserved sauce and cook, turning the meatballs to coat with the sauce, until it is slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes more. Add the meatballs, sauce and scallions to the eggplant.
Bake the casserole until the eggplant is very tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted in a meatball registers at least 165 degrees F, about 15 minutes.
Combine cilantro, peanuts and red pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the casserole just before serving.