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Way back in the days when my grandparents resided in Syria, there was no such thing as a huge slab of meat for the entire family, so the women had to stretch a pound of meat by grinding and mixing it with short grain rice (faster cooking time), salt, allspice, and cinnamon. They would stuff this “hashu” filling into the vegetables that were bought in the local souk in the city. Of course the vegetables were laboriously scooped upon arrival home. Fruits, vegetables and poultry from the Aleppo region were know to be organic and extra tasty, and the former residents will passionately attest to it. I will never forget the pride of one of the women that we interviewed for the Sephardic Heritage Museum project when she said, “You haven’t even tasted a CHERRY until you’ve tasted one from Aleppo!” Fortunately, our grandparents brought the memories of the flavors of their native land, and adapted them to our American menu. I’m not actually sure if they made eggplant rollups back in Syria, but I’m sure that they stuffed their baby eggplants with “hashu”. For a more detailed post on how to make hashu click HERE.
I really enjoy making eggplant rollups for the holidays when one meal rolls into the next because you can just pull it out of the freezer to defrost in the morning and pop into the oven a couple of hours before serving.
If you do freeze in advance, then just remember to defrost and add a little water to the edges of the pyrex before cooking!
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Eggplant Rollups with Hashu (Meat) and Rice Filling
- 1-2 lbs chop meat
- 1/3 cup short grain rice(per lb of chop meat)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp allspice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 can of tomato sauce
- garlic salt
- 2 uniform long eggplants/sliced into long thin slices
- Brush each eggplant slice with safflower oil and place on a baking tray.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes
Hashu meat filling:
- Mix chop meat, rice, spices and water together with cooking gloves till consistency of wet play dough.
Take each long slice of eggplact and place 2-3 tablespoons of meat at the edge.
- Roll up each eggplant slice into a finger sized rollup and place on a pyrex one by one.
- Pour a can of tomato sauce over the legnth of each row of rollups.
- Sprinkle with garlic salt and oregano.
- Bake at 350 for an hour or more (cover for and hour- then uncover for about 20 minutes) till bubbly.
- Lefortover "hashu" can be made into torpedo shaped balls and frozen on a cookie sheet for later use.
- Can be thrown on top of chicken or any roast, or cholent before cooking.
May be frozen in advance. Make sure to defrost before cooking- add some water to the edges before cooking.