¼ stick unsalted butter
1 large onion, finely diced
3 lbs. bulk chicken sausage, preseasoned
1 can Campbell’s Roasted Chicken Soup
1 can Campbell’s Chicken Mushroom Soup
¼ cup parsley, finely minced
3 large eggplants
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper, coarse ground
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. Frank Davis Sicilian Seasoning
½ cup + 4 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups peanut oil for frying
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
First, in a heavy 4-quart cast iron or aluminum Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat and cook down the diced onions until they soften. Then drop in the bulk chicken sausage, increase the heat to high, and quickly cook the mixture until all traces of raw chicken have disappeared (this will probably take you somewhere in the neighborhood of about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring continuously).
While the chicken is cooking, do two things: (1) preheat the oven to 350 degrees and (2) wrap the eggplants—unpeeled—in heavy-duty aluminum foil, just as you would a baked potato. Then when the oven has come up to temperature, place the eggplants on the center rack and bake them for about an hour to an hour and a half, (depending upon size). In the end, you want them completely soft to the touch, soft enough so that you will have absolutely no trouble easily scraping the pulp away from the skin.
Now when the chicken has browned, thoroughly stir in both cans of the creamed soups (as is, no water added). You will notice that a natural liquid will have formed in the pot as the chicken sautéed. With a spoon, take time to incorporate this liquid and the soups into a uniform creamed base. When the consistency is right, put the lid tightly on the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the concoction for about 20 to 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally to prevent the chicken from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Meanwhile, prepare your eggplant patties. Here’s how you do it:
While the eggplants are cooling, take a 12-inch non-stick skillet, heat up the olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic until they soften (just don’t let the garlic burn). Meanwhile, cut the eggplants in half lengthwise with a sharp knife. Then with a rubber spatula or a plastic scraper, gently scrape the inner eggplant pulp off the outer skin and chop it into small pieces. Next, drop the eggplant into the skillet, mix it thoroughly into the onions and garlic, and cook the combined mixture over medium heat until most of the natural eggplant liquid evaporates.
At some point during the cooking process, stir in the salt, the black pepper, the red pepper flakes, the Sicilian seasoning, and the scant quarter cup of bread crumbs. Then remove the skillet from the fire and let the mixture become cool enough to touch. At this point, sprinkle on the shredded Parmesan cheese and uniformly incorporate it into the stuffing. (By the way, if you’re following a sugar watchers diet regimen, you can substitute stone ground wheat bread crumbs for the French bread).
Next, working with a heaping tablespoonful at a time, place the stuffing onto a sheet of either freezer wrap or waxed paper onto which you have poured out the remaining bread crumbs. Then, using your hands and an egg turner, ever so carefully begin adding bread crumbs to the mound of eggplant so that you shape it into a patty about the size of a drink coaster. When it’s formed, lift if off the waxed paper with the egg turner and gently slide it onto a cookie sheet (I suggest you also line it with a piece of waxed paper to keep the patty from sticking). Repeat the process until all your patties have been shaped. Now let them air dry on the countertop for about 30 minutes to cure.
When you’re ready to cook, pan fry them a few at a time on both sides in the peanut oil in a non-stick skillet until they turn golden brown and become crunchy-crispy. And to keep the patties virtually greaseless, I recommend you drain them on several layers of paper towels when you remove them from the skillet.
All that’s left is to serve the patties piping hot, generously topped with a hardy sprinkling of the mozzarella cheese as garnish. And be sure to spoon up a N’Awlins-style helping of the spicy chipped chicken on the side. A cold, crisp, tossed green salad turns this creation into gourmet fare!
1. If you decide not to shape the eggplant into patties but serve it instead as an entree, you can add whatever extra ingredients you like to the eggplant mixture—shrimp, crab meat, diced ham, minced sausage, shredded pork, etc. Oh—and sprinkled with cheese and breadcrumbs, this recipe makes a great casserole when baked uncovered for about 30 minutes.
2. You should also know that the patties can be formed, placed on waxed paper, and stashed in the refrigerator—tightly covered—several days in advance of using them. This makes it easy to prepare the patties ahead for a party. 2. You should also know that the patties can be formed, placed on waxed paper, and stashed in the refrigerator—tightly covered—several days in advance of using them. This makes it easy to prepare the patties ahead for a party. 2. You should also know that the patties can be formed, placed on waxed paper, and stashed in the refrigerator—tightly covered—several days in advance of using them. This makes it easy to prepare the patties ahead for a party. 2. You should also know that the patties can be formed, placed on waxed paper, and stashed in the refrigerator—tightly covered—several days in advance of using them. This makes it easy to prepare the patties ahead for a party.