Recipes, Lamb Recipes

Aubergine stuffed w/ minced lamb

I love stuffing a vegetable — it is very much a Mediterranean pastime. This iteration of the stuffed aubergine is vaguely Greek-inspired. It is also utterly delicious.

This minced lamb from Swaledale has a depth of flavour that really sets it apart and means that a recipe like this one need not be overly complicated. A couple of choice herbs and spices give the lamb a little leg up. A slick layer of bechamel and some gratinated cheese rarely go a miss.

Aubergine stuffed w/ minced lamb

Aubergine stuffed w/ minced lamb

Recipe by

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 500g Minced Lamb

  • 2 large aubergines

  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely diced

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

  • 1 tsp chilli flakes

  • 1 tbsp dried oregano

  • 1 tbsp tomato purée

  • fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

  • 1 handful of coarse white breadcrumbs

  • For the bechamel
  • 500ml organic whole milk

  • 55g butter

  • 55g flour

  • nutmeg

  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

  • 2 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed

  • pecorino (or any other hard sheep’s cheese)

Directions

  • Start with the aubergines:
  • Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  • Half the aubergines, lengthways. Lay them in a roasting tray or oven-proof dish and season the flesh well with salt. Drizzle over a little olive oil and bake in the oven for around 25 minutes.
  • While the aubergines are baking, make a start on the filling. In a heavy-bottomed pan over a high heat, brown off the lamb mince. Do this in batches if necessary. We want to get good colour on the mince.
  • Once browned, remove the mince from the pan, leaving behind as much fat as possible. Turn the heat down to medium.
  • Into this fat, add the cumin seeds and chilli flakes and fry for a moment, so they begin to release their aroma. Then add the onion and garlic. Season with salt and cook with a lid on, stirring regularly, for about 15 minutes – until soft and just beginning to colour.
  • Remove the aubergines from the oven and allow to cool a little before scooping out their flesh. Be careful not to be too barbaric when doing this as you don’t (ideally) want to break the skins. After all, the flesh is being stuffed back into them later.
  • Add the lamb back into the onions and garlic, along with the aubergine flesh, tomato puree, mint, and the dried oregano. Keep the heat low and cook for 20 minutes. If, at any stage, it is looking too dry, then add a splash of water to loosen.
  • Take off the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs.
  • Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  • For the bechamel:
  • Tip the milk, rosemary, garlic, and a good grate of nutmeg into a pan. On a low heat bring it to a simmer. Once simmering, remove from the heat and set aside. This is to infuse the milk with those flavours. Leave it for about 15 minutes.
  • In a new pan melt the butter. Once melted, add the flour and cook out on a medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring regularly. This creates a roux.
  • Pass the milk through a sieve and return to the heat.
  • Pour about a third of the milk into the roux and stir with a whisk until combined. It will thicken very quickly.
  • Continuing to stir with the whisk add another third of the milk. Then the final third, again stirring with the whisk.
  • Keep the heat low and allow the bechamel to cook for about 15-20 minutes.
  •  Season with salt, to taste.
  • To bake:
  • Spoon the lamb stuffing into the aubergine skins, distributing equally between the four skins.
  • Cover each aubergine in bechamel and grate over as much pecorino as you see fit.
  • Bake at 180°C for 30 minutes.

    A little salad of picked mint and thinly sliced red onions, all dressed in a touch of lemon juice and olive oil, makes a great accompaniment.