Lamb With Eggplant
This is a recipe I bricolaged together from 3 other recipes: one Greek, one Lebanese and one Moroccan. I just love the effect of the sweet and savory spice combination here. The result turned out great for me and I hope you’ll try it too before the decently-priced, not-from-around-the-world eggplants disappear from the markets or you can wait ‘til summer.
1 lb ground lamb or ground beef (actually, I used beef)
4 tbsp olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
1 large eggplant, diced
½ tsp salt (for drawing out eggplant juices)
1 - 14 oz can of tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp each of: turmeric, oregano, and cumin
1 ½ tsp cinnamon, ground
½ tsp nutmeg, ground
½ tsp black pepper, ground
¼ tsp cayenne pepper, ground
salt to taste
Cut the eggplant into 1-in cubes, sprinkle with salt and drain in a sieve or colander for at least 1 hour. In the meantime, prepare all your other ingredients; chop this, grind that, etc. Music to chop this and grind that by: "Clandestino" by Manu Chao. "Manu" is a real mixture of things and origins just like this dish. Grown up in France with Spanish Republican parents, he usually sounds Mexican when he sings, unless of course, he's singing in Portuguese. You get the idea. Brown the ground beef well in 1 tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat, about 15 minutes. Once it has browned well (meaning it's reached a very dark brown but not black), remove it from the pan leaving as much oil as possible. There may be some browned bits left as well. To this pan, add the chopped onions and sautee until they have lightly browned as well. Remove the onions, scraping all the residue away. Now, dry the eggplant and add it to the pan with the remaining 3 tbsps of oil. Fry on all sides, then add the meat/onion mixture back to the pan. Pour the tomatoes over, then add all the spices. Bring to a simmer. Taste for salt. Simmer until the mixture becomes thick, not sauce-like but chunky and solid (like a great Bolognese sauce if that helps), about 20 minutes. Serve over rice or with good, crusty bread.