I’ll tell you a secret. Generally speaking, I think most slow cooker meals are just okay. I mean, they’re perfectly fine and respectable for feeding the family on a busy night and they are certainly healthy and in fact I think highly enough of them that I keep making them week in and week out. But truth be told, I don’t really LOVE that many slow cooker recipes. Except this one. It takes a little extra work (you actually have to brown meat in advance) but I do everything the night before and then just stick it in the fridge overnight. Come morning, I just plug it all in and head to work. When I get home I have got something super warm and inviting and just plain delicious. I serve it over rice and the boys love it so much that I made it for K’s birthday dinner. It is probably my most requested dinner, after “rice and beans” of course.
1 large eggplant , peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick*
1 lb ground turkey (although I’m sure beef or even lamb would be fine)
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tomato, chopped
1 onion , sliced
5 garlic cloves , chopped
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 roasted red pepper or one red bell pepper, diced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt , to taste
8 ounces feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional)
- Place peeled and sliced eggplant on the bottom of the crock pot.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and then add the onions. Cook 3-4 minutes until they start to turn translucent, then add the garlic. Continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the ground turkey – season with salt and pepper, ½ of the cinnamon and ½ of the oregano. Brown until cooked through.
- Add the tomatoes and the bell or roasted red pepper – cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, then add the tomato paste, and the rest of the cinnamon and oregano, and mix well.
- Add the meat mixture to the slow cooker on top of the eggplant.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- In the last half hour (right when I’m about to start the rice cooker), add the parsley and ½ the feta cheese, broken into chunks and stir really well until melted and blended.
- Serve over rice with more feta for sprinkling on top.
* I like to season the eggplant with salt and let it sit on some paper towels while I do the rest of the work to help get some of the bitterness out – but this is really just a preference and not necessary if you don’t feel like it.