Earthy burdock, a firm root long popular in Asia, adds flavor to this dish's hearty stuffing. Leave it unpeeled to enjoy its full flavor.
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 4 medium-sized eggplants, halved lengthwise
- 1 small burdock, unpeeled and chopped finely
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 carrot, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 Cup bulgur
- 1 3/4 Cup boiling water
- 1 Tablespoon tamari, or to taste
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 Cup toasted chopped pecans
- 1/2 Cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper then grease the paper with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Score the cut sides of the eggplant with crosswise cuts then arrange cut side down in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Bake until tender, about 30 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then scoop out pulp with a spoon, leaving a 1/3-inch wall in each eggplant half. Finely chop the pulp and transfer to a bowl. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the burdock and cook, stirring often, until just golden. Add the onion and cook until transparent. Then, stir in the carrot and celery and cook until just slightly tender.
Add the bulgur and cook, stirring often, until toasted and fragrant. Stir in the water, tamari, and pepper, to taste. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the bulgur is just tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside, covered, for 15-20 minutes. Stir in the pecans and reserved eggplant pulp.
Stuff each eggplant shell with some of the bulgur mixture and arrange on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top and bake until golden brown and hot throughout, about 30 minutes.