Thursday, 6 September 2012

Under Cover Dinner!

Sformatino di Agnello Trittato, Pepe & Menta in Melanzane
Ground Lamb with Pepper & Mint Baked in Eggplant

This evenings dinner was so delicious that it would be a crime to keep it under wraps and not share it with you- even if it was all wrapped up for a while! A very simple dish, but presented in a fun way and with all of the good flavors of the ingredients intact and intense and inside of the eggplant casing!

Mint goes so well with both eggplant and lamb that this is a wonderful combination, full of Mediterranean goodness.I made an individual serving, but of course you can also fill a larger baking dish and make one family size serving too- but either way, I think you are going to like this!

For my single serving I had about a quarter pound of ground lamb- just enough to make a large burger. You know how I am about using too much oil or fat in my dishes, so this is the way I prepared this. I first got the pan very hot and then fried the ground lamb in if for 3-4 minutes- of course with no added fat... because by that time the meat had already given off quite a bit of its own fat. I took the meat out of the pan with a slotted spoon and then fried the eggplant slices in it with a little garlic for 4-5 minutes until is was soft and golden brown.

I then removed the eggplant and returned the meat- along with one small pointy red pepper, finely diced, so finely chopped onion and a good handful of both parsley and mint. I seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin seed and a tiny hint of cinnamon and stir-fried it for 4-5 minutes. I then deglazed the frying pan with a splash of cognac- but you can simply use water if you are cooking for children and added a couple of teaspoons of ajvar. I wanted to concentrate on the combination of peppers, eggplant and mint in this dish and not turn it into a typical tomato sauce recipe.

So, the next thing I knew it was already assembly time- which where all the real fun began! I took my baking dish and laid out the eggplant slices in a circular pattern, with a couple of slices in the middle to make sure that the dish was covered all the way around. I then spooned in the delicious ground lamb and pepper mix and then folded the eggplant firmly shut, trapping all of the yummy juices and flavors inside- mmm!

I popped it into a pre-heated oven at 350°F for 10 minutes with a further 2-3 under the broiler. Basically it just had to be brought up to temperature and to brown nicely... so as you can see- it really was nice and easy to make too! And so delicious that I hope you enjoy it too!

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