Lamb Stuffed Aubergines — The Lazy Girl Moussaka
The weather is refusing to warm up this side of the world! Every time rays of sunshine grace us with their presence, the winter gods decide it’s time for a showdown again. It’s officially spring, but today it’s a freezing 32F (yeah I got my Fahrenheit on now!). The winter weather calls for comfort food, warm and inviting, and this recipe is prefect for that. I call this recipe ‘the lazy girl Moussaka’! Inspired by the traditional Greek dish which is labour intensive, albeit delicious with layers of aubergines, mince meat, potato, and béchamel sauce, topped with a sprinkling of cheese and nutmeg. It’s a treat and a special occasion dish, but that’s not the case with my ‘Lazy Girl Moussaka’! It’s simple and fuss free. I usually tend to throw in a few vegetables from the fridge like leftover zucchini, carrots, celery etc. It gives the meat more flavour and prevents it from drying out. It’s an easy dish to prepare and you can even pre-prep the meat before-hand, and stuff and bake the aubergines later.
It looks elegant enough to wow dinner guests with its presentation, and is a filling meal in itself. I usually add a side of green beans, or, a simple green salad to provide some freshness with all that meat. AS loves anything that has the words ‘mince lamb’ in it, and this dish has become a regular on the weekly menu. So I always make it a point now to pick a few shiny purple ones on my trip to the farmers market.
The actual prep time for the recipe is 30–45mins, and the baking takes another 15mins or so. The aubergines are split in half from the stem, and then you scoop out the flesh leaving about 1.5cm thick shell. The meat is cooked separately, together with the scooped out aubergine flesh, and chopped tomatoes until done. Scoop the meat mix out into the prepared shells and top with mozzarella cheese and a few bread crumbs to give the top a little bit of crunch. And just like that, you have an elegant dinner dish ready! The recipe here is for two people, but you can just as easily double the quantity. As a rule of thumb, 1 medium size aubergine is good for enough for 2 people, so you can make a guesstimate from there.
Lamb Stuffed Aubergines
- 1 Medium size Aubergine cut lengthways through the stalk
- 250gm Lamb Mince
- 1 brown onion sliced
- 2–3 garlic cloves minced
- 1–2 celery stalks peeled and chopped
- 1 carrot peeled and diced
- 1 cup canned chopped tomatoes
- 1tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/2tsp allspice
- 1tsp dried oregano
- A pinch of grated nutmeg
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 cup shredded Mozzarella or Manchego cheese
- 1/4cup bread crumbs
- Chopped parsley leaves to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Scoop out the flesh from the split aubergines leaving around 1.5cm shell around, taking care to not tear the shell. Keep the scooped out flesh aside. Lightly salt it and spray with oil. Place them side by side on a baking tray and bake the shells for 15mins until the shell is easily pierced. Let it cool. Turn up the oven to 420F.
- In a pan heat up the olive oil, and add the onions to brown them. Add the garlic, celery and carrots, and sauté until soft.
- Add the Lamb mince with the dried spices to the pan and cook until it turns brown. Now add the salt and chopped canned tomatoes. Cover and cook until done, around 30 mins or so. Adjust seasoning according to taste. Dry out any water, if there at all.
- Spoon the lamb mix into the shells. Spread the mozzarella cheese on top, and sprinkle the bread crumbs on top of it. Bake it for another 15mins until the cheese on top browns.
- Take it out of the oven, and let it cool for 5mins before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with a side salad.
Originally published at chroniclesofafoodoholic.com on February 24, 2015.