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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