On this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient ground pork. This Roasted Eggplant with Sichuan-Style Pork recipe reinvents the inexpensive ingredient for an outside-of-the-takeout-box meal that’s ready in 30 minutes. Stir-frying the pork with spicy Sichuan flavor transforms the familiar ingredient into a dish that’s just as flavorful — if not more than — takeout.
First, set a rack on the middle shelf of your oven and preheat it to 425 degrees F.
Score the flesh of each eggplant 6 to 8 times using a sharp knife. Place them on the baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons canola oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Place the eggplant cut-side down and bake until they start to soften and begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Next, flip the eggplant and bake for 15 more minutes until the other side has completely softened and changed into a golden-brown color.
While the eggplant is baking, start to prepare the pork by heating the remaining oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook until the meat is lightly brown and no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
Add the scallion whites, garlic and ginger, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the chili-garlic sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, 1/2 cup water and half of the scallion greens. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
Spoon the pork over the eggplant and garnish with the remaining scallion greens. Serve over white rice.
Get the Recipe: Roasted Eggplant with Sichuan-Style Pork
The Chopped Dinner Challenge is a series of recipes showing you how easy it is to cook like a winning Chopped competitor. Every week, FN Dish will showcase a recipe created by Food Network Kitchen that uses at least one of the Chopped basket ingredients from an episode, plus basic grocery goods and simple staples. Consider it your very own Chopped challenge. Just take this frequent tip from the judges: Don’t forget to season!