Recipe Corner: Baked Eggplant and Lamb

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17797921047d0b91c33791739caaa10aBy Christine Vartanian Datian

Vartanian Datian layers Mediterranean flavors — seasoned ground lamb and slices of fresh eggplant — then tops the works with bread crumbs and Feta cheese and bakes it. The result is a simple, hearty dish.

 

Ingredients:

2 pounds eggplant

2-3 thick slices French bread

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1 pound lean ground lamb

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups low sodium tomato sauce

1/2 cup dry red wine

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1 tablespoon brown or spicy mustard

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon fresh mint, chopped

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon sea or Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

6 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

Crushed red pepper flakes, as garnish

Olive oil
Preparation:

  1.     Rinse and dry eggplant; slice crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, discarding ends.  Brush both sides of rounds lightly with olive oil and place in a single layer on two baking sheets.  Bake in a 425 degree oven until browned and tender when pierced, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2.     Meanwhile, cut bread into 1/2-inch pieces.  Put in a food processor or blender and whirl into coarse crumbs, about one cup.
  3.     In a nonstick pan over medium-high heat, stir the bread crumbs in a few tablespoons of olive oil until browned, about 5 minutes, and set aside in a bowl.
  4.     In the same pan over medium-high heat, stir the lamb until crumbled and no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, transfer lamb to a bowl.  In a few tablespoons of olive oil, cook the onion, mushrooms, and garlic together, and stir until the onion is translucent and mushrooms are browned, about 5-8 minutes.  Add the tomato sauce, wine, mustard, basil, mint, oregano, salt, pepper, and the browned lamb.  Bring this mixture to a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5.     Arrange half the eggplant slices in a single layer over the bottom of a shallow baking dish; top with half the lamb mixture.  Repeat layers of eggplant and lamb mixture.  Sprinkle the top with the bread crumbs and Feta cheese.
  6.     Bake in a 350 degree oven until browned and bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes.   Remove from oven and sprinkle the top with chopped parsley; scoop out servings with a large spoon.  Serve crushed pepper flakes on the side, if desired.

Serves 8.
<http://www.sunset.com/>

Originally published in Sunset Magazine, March 2002
*Christine’s recipes have been published in the Fresno Bee, Sunset and
Cooking Light Magazines, and at http://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/

*For Christine’s recipes that have been published in Sunset and Cooking
Light Magazines, go to:   <http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian>
http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian