Sitting on the wall re eggplant? Try them this way and you will become an instant convert.
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped Olive oil 1 large clove garlic, peeled and crushed ¼ tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp ground allspice ¼ tsp ground cumin Flaky sea salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 x 400g (8oz) can crushed tomatoes 2 medium-sized eggplants, about 375g (12-13 oz) each 400g (about 14 oz) lamb mince (ground lamb) 1 Tbsp chopped parsley ½ cup basil leaves Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling Optional extras for serving, plain unsweetened yoghurt, lemon wedges
1 Put onion in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of oil, cover with a lid and cook gently for about 10 minutes, until softened; stir once or twice to make sure the onion doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. Stir through garlic and cook briefly. Stir in cinnamon, allspice and cumin and add a few pinches of salt and a little black pepper. Add tomatoes, rinse can with a little water, and add that to the pan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook gently for 20 minutes, until pulpy.
2 Cut eggplants in half lengthwise and score the flesh. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy-based frying pan (skillet) and when oil is hot, add the eggplant halves, scored side down. Brown well on both sides, then transfer to a shallow ovenproof dish lined with baking (parchment) paper if preferred. Season with salt and pepper.
3 Break up lamb mince with a fork (if it is in long strands, chop roughly). Add a little more oil to the pan – so that there is a good slick of oil coating the pan – and when it is nice and hot, add the lamb mince in clumps. Leave the lamb where it falls – if you break it up or move it around, it will lower the temperature in the pan and start stewing! Once the meat has browned, turn it and continue browning. Season with salt and pepper and stir through parsley. Tilt pan and spoon off any watery residue.
4 Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F). Pile minced lamb into eggplant halves, pushing it down to collapse the eggplant a little, then spoon over tomato sauce. Strew with basil leaves and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil (don’t be heavy-handed). Bake eggplants for about 40 minutes, until very tender and everything smells fragrant. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Serve with a grain (couscous, quinoa, barley etc,) or a side dish of lentils or white beans and yoghurt, and a tossed salad.