On Mr. FFB’s Top Ten Favorite Meals of All Time list, you will find this Ground Beef Eggplant Parmesan. He’s always been a fool for traditional (beef-less) eggplant Parmesan. But being the meddler that I am, I have a hard time leaving traditional dishes alone, especially when said traditional dish is meatless and there’s a strong chance that adding beef could really kick it up a notch.
Look out Emeril, because that’s exactly what the ground beef does for eggplant parm – it kicks it up a notch and takes it to a whole other level of hearty goodness! In my humble opinion, of course. 😉
Don’t forget the rules of food safety! Here is the short list:
- Always wash your hands before and after handling raw meat.
- Never thaw meat on the counter – instead thaw in the refrigerator, microwave or cool water bath.
- Always wash cutting boards and plates after having been in contact with raw meat.
- Always cook to appropriate internal temperatures. Safe internal temperatures vary based on cut. Hamburger must reach a safe and savory 160 degrees, while steak is safe at 145 degrees.
1 pound ground beef
¼ cup finely chopped onion
28 ounces marinara
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
18 ¼ inch thick slices of eggplant*
3 cups shredded mozzarella
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
Heat a medium to large skillet over medium-high heat, add the ground beef, break it up into small pieces, and brown for 8-10 minutes or until the ground beef is no longer pink. Toss in the onion and cook until the onion becomes fragrant and translucent. Pour in the marinara, reduce heat to low, and let simmer.
In another medium to large skillet, pour enough vegetable oil that it comes ¼ inch up the sides of the skillet. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit and is shimmering.
While the oil is heating, mix the breadcrumbs and grated parmesan together in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs together until smooth. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg and dredge in the bread crumb mixture.
Place 3-5** breaded eggplant slices into the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minute on each side, or until golden brown. Remove from the skillet and drain. I use a wire rack placed over a sheet pan to drain mine, but you could totally use a paper towel covered plate or sheet pan.
Once all the eggplant slices have been fried, put a thin layer of the meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 cake pan. Lay down the first layer of 6 eggplant slices. Spread a layer of meat sauce on the eggplant followed by a layer of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Place another layer of eggplant directly on top of the first slices followed by a layer of meat sauce and mozzarella. Repeat until all the eggplant slices have been used, ending with cheese on top.
Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is deliciously melted and turning a gorgeous golden brown. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
* I can usually get 18 1/4 slices from two medium to large eggplants cut width-wise into rounds.
**The number of slices will depend on the size of the skillet. Trying to fry too many slices at once will steam, rather than fry, the eggplant and yield a sad, soggy breading.
Keywords: eggplant parmesan