Ground Lamb with Pepper & Mint Baked in Eggplant
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!