I am a firm believer that food should look like a work of art once it is served. It should make your pupils get larger, your senses awaken and it not only should look fabulous, but look fabulous too. Let’s face it, who wants to eat food that looks horrible on a plate?
This is such a simple dish to prepare, yet it looks pretty, smells amazing and tastes out of this world! Now who wouldn’t want to stick their fork into that?
This recipe has a bit of a Middle Eastern flare to it. The eggplant, lamb, cumin, raisins, mint and rice are also a great source of vitamins and nutrients that not only will your eyes be pleased with but so will your palette.
There are many varieties of eggplants, but for this recipe purchase the larger sized dark purple so it can serve 2 people comfortably. Eggplant or aubergine (ober-jean) as the British call them, is a species of the nightshade family of vegetables, which also includes tomatoes, sweet peppers and potatoes. They grow in a manner much like tomatoes, hanging from the vines of a plant that grows several feet in height. While the different varieties do range slightly in taste and texture, one can generally describe the eggplant as having a pleasantly bitter taste and spongy texture. grown for its edible fruit. It originated in China around 600 BC, so they have been around for a very long time.
Eggplants come in over 700 varieties, although here in the States I have not seen that many. During the summer, at the farmer’s market you can purchase many different varieties from white, long, Italian, Japanese, and baby types to the large size that can keep you rather creative in the kitchen. Eggplant is rich source of dietary fibers, vitamins C, K and vitamins of the B group, and minerals such as copper, phosphorus and magnesium. So eat up and try as many different types as you can find. But in the meantime, try this recipe and as always, Enjoy!
Eggplant Stuffed with Lamb Raisins with Fresh Herbs
Ingredients: Serves 2
- 2 tablespoons dried raisins, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes, drained and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon, plus 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large eggplant, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 8 ounces ground lamb
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt and pepper to season
- 1/2 cup organic brown basmati rice, cooked
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Make the rice according to directions. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place the rack 2 notches from the top. Rinse and pat dry the eggplant. Slice in half lengthwise and brush with the 1/8 cup olive oil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet with cut side up in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
While the eggplant is baking, prepare the meat mixture. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once hot add in the onions and garlic. Sauté over a medium low heat for about 8 minutes. Add in the lamb and cook, breaking up the pieces as they cook. Season with the cumin and salt and pepper. Cook until lamb is cooked through and no longer pink. Drain into a fine mesh strainer to remove the excess oil. Place into a medium mixing bowl. Add in the cooked rice, raisins, and parsley, mint and lemon zest and carefully mix to incorporate. Once the eggplant has slightly cooled, place onto your serving platter. Scrape the inside flesh into a bowl, without cutting through the skin. Roughly chop the eggplant flesh. Add into the meat and rice mixture. Divide the stuffing among the eggplant skins. Garnish with more herbs and lemon zest.