I took a writing course a while back that encouraged bloggers to post ‘current’ material, appealing to what readers want at the time. It’s January – the month of guilt trips, gym memberships, green smoothies, you get the picture. I’m sorry to say I won’t be posting a January-friendly recipe, but rather a super delicious recipe, which should be indulged in as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
I present roasted baby eggplant, stuffed with minced lamb, pine nuts, onions and spices
This recipe came about like many of mine do; by buying what’s in season and blending classic flavours. I shop at the local fruit and veg shop every week and have learned not to go with a shopping list, but instead buy what looks terrific at the time. That’s what happened with the simply stunning baby eggplant that forms part of this classic eggplant/lamb combo recipe. The amount below will serve four people, with side dishes.
- Four to six small eggplants, halved lengthways (don’t cut them until you’re ready to cook them, or they’ll oxidise and turn brown)
- 500 grams minced lamb
- One red onion, diced
- Two cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped
- A generous handful of pine nuts
- Olive oil
- One teaspoon ground coriander
- Half teaspoon cayenne pepper (omit or add less if you don’t like heat)
- Half teaspoon sweet paprika (try not to substitute with smoked paprika, as it’s too strong here)
- Half teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place the eggplant cut side up on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and salt and bake in the preheated oven at 180 degrees for 20-30 minutes until the flesh is soft and melting. Keep the oven on once the eggplant is done.
- Meanwhile, gently fry the onions and spices in some olive oil for about five minutes. Add the pine nuts and toss through for another two minutes. Add the garlic for a final minute, then remove from the heat.
- Add the spiced onion and pine nut mix to the minced lamb, season with salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly with your hands. Filling done!
- Remove the eggplant from the oven and squish down the flesh inside each cut half, pressing the soft flesh into the skin to form a tasty container. Take a handful of the mince mixture and press it into the waiting eggplant vessel.
- If you’re feeling indulgent, drizzle the stuffed eggplant with olive oil before placing in the oven. Personally I didn’t bother, as lamb mince is fatty enough to stay quite moist on it’s own. Bake at 180 degrees for around 30 minutes, until golden and cooked through.
Call me crazy, but I really do think the little stuffed eggplants look like tiny boats carrying precious, meaty cargo. So cute!
I served these babies with a green salad, and cucumber and herb adorned natural yoghurt. They’d be brilliant with flat bread.
If you are keen to reduce the calorie load of rich minced lamb, I would advise going half-half with a leaner mince, such as beef or turkey. Or you could just eat the lamb and go for a walk after dinner.
This is a new section of the blog I’m trying out to share some of the knowledge I gained during the fabulous wine and spirits course I took last year. I have an interest in food and wine pairing, so from now on, I’ll be recommending a wine to go with the recipes I post.
For this tasty lamb and eggplant number, I recommend Scion’s unusual and amazing Durif Viognier. For what is described as a medium bodied wine, it’s got a lot of guts, which stands up well to the spices in the dish. It’s a particularly dry wine, which for me worked really well with the fatty lamb and creamy eggplant. If you get a chance, give Scion Vineyard in Rutherglen a visit. They put on a pretty good tasting, and you’ll come away with boxes of wine to get you stocked up for 2015.