Eggplant Rolls with Ground Lamb
For the tomatoes sauce:
- 2 medium aubergines
- 1 cup of good quality olive oil
- 1 can (28oz, 800g) of quality whole tomatoes (I like the San Marzano)
- 1 red onion — thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper — thinly sliced
- 1 spicy Jalapeño — thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
For the lamb filling (basic Kebab recipe)
- 1.5 pounds (a little over ½ kg) Ground Lamb Meat
- ~2 spoons of minced Parsley
- 2 spoons of Olive Oil
- 1 spoons of Paprika
- 1 teaspoon of Turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of Garlic Powder
- (optional) 1–2 spoons of Pine Nuts
- (optional) 1 teaspoon of Ras el’ Hanut
- 1 teaspoon Salt and ½ teaspoon of Black Pepper (add to taste)
We’ll start with the sauce as it needs to sit over low heat for a while to reduce and develop its tastes.
In a high, oven-ready pan add some olive oil and fry the onions until they start to golden (become transparent in color).
Add the Bell Peppers and Jalapeño ~5–10 minutes.
Add the canned Tomatoes. Using a wooden spoon stir and crush the whole tomatoes to little pieces.
Add the bay leaves and Salt & Pepper to taste, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and let it cook for ~45 minutes.
In the meantime, let’s start preparing the Aubergines.
We need to cut the aubergine and roast them in the oven just enough so that they’re soft enough to fold
Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF.
Cut the Aubergines to long thin(about half a finger) slices and place in an oven pan and brush some olive oil on each side. Sprinkle some salt on top.
Roast for ~20 minutes — until they’re soft enough to fold.
While the Aubergines are roasting we can prepare the meat mixture.
We’re basically making a Kebab mixture — minced lamb, paprika, turmeric and minced parsley — put them all in a bowl and mix.
Let it rest for 15 minutes.
For some crunchiness and sweetness, I like to lightly toast some Pine Nuts and add to the mixture.
Once the sauce has reduced, give it a taste and add Salt & Pepper to taste. If its too sour you can add a teaspoon or two of sugar. If you’d like to add some heat — ground white pepper is your friend.
Now, let’s start preparing the rolls.
Place the Aubergine slices on a work surface.
Take 1–2 teaspoons of meat and place at the end of each slice, then roll it and place in the pan in a circular pattern.
Place covered in the oven (still on 180ºC/350ºF) for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes I like to give it a nice burn on top — remove the cover and switch the oven to high grill mode for 5–10 minutes (monitor closely to make sure you’re not burning the aubergines)
Remove from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes before serving. The wait lets all the taste settle and according to my testers, it tastes even better the day after.
Enjoy, with a side of rice, or a green salad.