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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.

1

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.

2

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.

3

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.

4

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.