Recipe video above. A delicious, unique, EASY way to serve up eggplant and minced / ground beef or lamb! Think of this as a midweek take on traditional Arabic stuffed eggplant that's usually hollowed out.Don't worry if you don't have every single spice. There's so many in this spice mix, it will still be tasty even if you're missing one...or two, even three!Serves 2 as a main with a small side salad, or 4 as a meal with a starch (flatbread, couscous) and a substantial side (like this Pumpkin Salad, roast veg, chickpea salad), or 4 as a generous starter.
Sweat eggplants (recommended, see Note 5 to skip) - Cut eggplants in half then score with 2.5cm / 1" diamonds. Rub surface with salt, getting some into the slits. Place face down in a colander and set aside for 30 minutes. Gently squeeze like a sponge to remove excess water, pat surface dry.
Mix Chermoula spice mix ingredients in a bowl. Remove 3 teaspoons for the meat and set aside. Add olive oil and lemon juice into the remaining spice mix and mix into a paste.
Roast eggplant - Place eggplant on baking tray. Slather spice mix onto the surface. Roast for 45 minutes until softened.
Spiced topping - Heat oil in a non stick skillet over medium high heat. Cook onion and garlic for 1 minute. Turn heat up to high, add lamb/beef and cook, breaking it up as you go, until you no longer see red. Add reserved spices and salt, then cook for a further 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Stir in water, cook for 1 minute until it's juicy but not watery.
Assemble - Top eggplant with beef/lamb. Sprinkle over coriander, dollop with yogurt and pine nuts. Finish with an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, if desired!
1. Eggplant/aubergine - Don't get too hung up on eggplant size. I always provide weight and measurement because they vary so much in size - what is a "medium eggplant"??! If you have giant ones, you'll just have a thinner layer of topping (there's enough flavour in this dish you won't feel robbed). If you have tiny ones, pile it on higher or reserve leftover meat for another purpose. 2. Spice subs - With so many in this spice mix, it's fine if you're missing one...or even three! Just dial up some of the others to make up for flavour. Specific subs:
All spice - mixed spice
Garlic powder - onion powder, or fresh garlic
Ginger - more garlic
Turmeric powder - saffron
Cinnamon - more all spice
3. Tomato paste - or sub water + paste with 1/4 cup crushed tomato or passata. I offer this as a suggestion as I always seem to have a partial bottle of passata in the fridge!4. Toasting pinenuts - Small skillet, no oil, medium heat, toss until golden and smells toasty. Remove from pan straight away.5. Eggplant sweating - Draws out excess water so you don't end up with water in the eggplant halves that dilutes eating flavour. Removing bitterness from eggplant - generally speaking, this has been bred out of eggplants sold these days. I've never had a problem.Don't have time to sweat? Just cut 2 x 3cm/1" slits in the skin so the water escapes while roasting. Also, expect to add 5 to 10 min to roasting time.6. Yogurt tip - To make the yoghurt even tastier, mix 1/4 cup of yoghurt with 1/2 garlic clove, minced, a small squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper. Set aside for 30 minutes to let the flavours develop. I do this for company. :)Make ahead - Roast the eggplant and meat filling. Fully cool both, uncovered, then put into containers in the fridge. Re-warm both using method of choice (juice up the meat with a splash of water if needed) then assemble!Leftovers will keep for 3 days in the fridge. Not convinced cooked eggplant will freeze well but the meat will be fine for 3 months!Nutrition per serving, using lean beef - 2 eggplant halves (i.e. one whole eggplant) per serving. This is a satisfying meal even by itself!