Stuffed Eggplant with Lamb and Pine Nuts
I stopped preparing stuffed vegetables years ago, but this recipe was manageable because there is no scooping out of the eggplant flesh; the spiced meat mixture sits on top and, as it bakes, it seeps into the softened eggplant. I found tamarind paste at local kosher and Middle Eastern markets. Submitted by Paula Shoyer
- 4 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds), halved lengthwise
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 medium onions (12 ounces in total), finely chopped
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 7 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2/3 ounce flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 3 teaspoons superfine sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the eggplant halves, skin side down, in a roasting pan large enough to accommodate them snugly. Brush the flesh with four tablespoons of the olive oil and season with one teaspoon salt and plenty of black pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
- While the eggplants are cooking, you can start making the stuffing by heating the remaining two tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan. Mix together the cumin, paprika and ground cinnamon and add half of this spice mix to the pan, along with the onions. Cook over medium-high heat for about eight minutes, stirring often, before adding the lamb, pine nuts, parsley, tomato paste, one teaspoon of the sugar, one teaspoon salt and some black pepper. Continue to cook and stir for another eight minutes, until the meat is cooked. Place the remaining spice mix in a bowl and add the water, lemon juice, tamarind, the remaining two teaspoons sugar, the cinnamon sticks and ½ teaspoon salt; mix well.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Pour the spice mix into the bottom of the eggplant roasting pan. Spoon the lamb mixture on top of each eggplant. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, return to the oven, and roast for 1½ hours, by which point the eggplants should be completely soft and the sauce thick. Twice during the cooking, remove the foil and baste the eggplants with the sauce, adding some water if the sauce dries out. Serve warm, not hot, or at room temperature.
- Recipe reprinted with permission from Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, copyright © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Food Photography credit: Jonathan Lovekin © 2012