Roasted Eggplant With Cheater Sichuan-Style Pork

Time45 minutes
YieldsServes 4
A plate holds wedges of eggplant and ground pork.
(Lindsay Kreighbaum / For The Times; prop styling by Dorothy Hoover)
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I love nothing more than gathering with friends for epic Sichuan feasts, ordering way too many dishes and talking for hours. This dish helps to curb that craving when I can’t find the energy to leave my house. I use chili crisp and mushroom-flavored soy sauce to quickly add umami and depth to ground pork for the sauce.


Set a rack on the lowest shelf of the oven and heat to 450 degrees. Line a large, rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.


Use a sharp paring knife to lightly score the flesh of each eggplant 6 to 8 times. Place the eggplants on the prepared sheet pan and rub all over with 3 tablespoons of oil; season liberally with salt and pepper. Turn the eggplant halves so that each one is cut-side-down and bake until the eggplant starts to soften and the skin starts to brown, about 20 minutes. Use a large offset spatula to gently flip the eggplant halves over and bake until the flesh is completely tender and golden brown in spots, about 15 minutes more.


Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook, breaking up the meat, until lightly browned and no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, scallion whites and ginger and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Pour in the Shaoxing wine and cook until mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the water, soy sauce, chili crisp, black vinegar and half of the scallion greens. Cook at a strong simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced by about half and is slightly thickened, 7 to 10 minutes. Cover with a lid to keep warm until the eggplant is finished roasting.


To serve, transfer the roasted eggplant onto a large serving platter, top with the pork sauce, and garnish with the remaining scallion greens. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.