Middle Eastern Lamb Stuffed Eggplants
Oh my gosh... flavours of the Middle East always make my taste buds dance! The flavour combinations are just magical and the foods are always so comforting. It's a cuisine that always intrigues me as I love the use of the herbs and spices and their cooking techniques.
They have a wide variety of ingredients which can include grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, flavourings such as butter, olive oil, fresh and dried herbs and spices, honey and eggs. A large amount of the meals are vegetarian however chicken, lamb and mutton are meats eaten , due to both Islamic and Jewish dietary laws prohibit pork being consumed.
For me, it is also a visual thing and I like that with most Middle Eastern meals they are beautifully presented on platters and everyone helps themselves with mealtimes being somewhat communal. I honestly believe that if you like the look of the food you actually enjoy it more!!
I have been reading books from my every growing cookbook collection (yes I still buy cookbooks) and have been coming across a lot of Middle Eastern style recipes. This has had me thinking about cooking a tagine as it's been a while since I last cooked one. Then I remembered I had eggplants and lamb mince. I decided to have Lamb Stuffed Eggplants full of all the wonderful tantilising flavours of cumin, turmeric, paprika, chilli, and who can forget lemon, that wonderful zesty pop when it reaches your taste buds... yum!
This meal was everything that I had been fancying. The combination of the meat, the tomatoes and the spices all nestled in an eggplant boat topped with cumin spiced yoghurt and fresh pomegranate arils (seeds). It was a very easy meal to prepare and cook with the hardest things being removing the arils from the pomegranate itself (using a wooden spoon is the easiest way to do this and it's actually quite a stress relieving exercise).
Now to see what my next cuisine my taste buds start craving is......
Middle Eastern Lamb Stuffed Eggplants
💚 9 sp per serve
💙 9 sp per serve
💜 9 sp per serve
2 medium to large eggplants, sliced in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion finely diced
3 cloves garlic crushed
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup shelled pistachios
500 grams lean lamb mince
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes, or to taste
1 tablespoon lemon zest
salt to taste
1 x 400 gram tinned diced tomatoes
1/2 cup low fat plain yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon cumin, additional
1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Line a large baking tray.
Using a teaspoon scoop the middle from each eggplant leaving a 1 cm border to create a cavity. Spray all over with cooking spray and place on the baking tray. Bake them in the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes depending on the size, until the eggplant are soft and tender.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, diced onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until the onion has softened.
Add in the pistachios and pine nuts and cook for another 5 minutes.
Next add in the lamb mince and cooked until browned and cooked through. Using a wooden spoon to stir, break the meat up as you don't want any large lumps.
Chop the reserved eggplant into small dice and add to the pan. Stir to ensure completely combined with mince.
Add paprika, cumin, tumeric, chilli flakes, lemon and salt to the meat mixture and let cook for another 5 minutes so that the flavours to develop.
Stir through the diced tomatoes and allow to simmer for a further 5 minutes.
Once the eggplants tender, remove them from the oven and cover with foil. Allow to cool slightly so that they will be easier to handle.
Fill each of the eggplant with the meat mixture, return to baking tray and press down on mixture to ensure filling is secure.
Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes to allow them to settle.
Meanwhile mix together the yoghurt and the additional cumin powder. Set aside.
Remove the eggplant from the oven, drizzle them with the yoghurt mixture and pomegranate seeds.
Serve with a simple side salad, if desired.