Spiced Lamb and Aubergine Pilaf

I love this kind of dish. It can be made well in advance and with a basic selection of spices from you cupboard i.e. cumin, cinnamon, chilli, coriander, you can transform other plainer ingredients like rice and aubergines into an exotic, budget-friendly dish. This is most definitely a real crowd pleaser. Also by using lamb mince instead of cuts of lamb, the whole process even easier.

Spiced Lamb & Aubergine Pilaf

SPICED LAMB AND AUBERGINE PILAF

(Original recipe by Sophie Wright)

Ingredients:

2–3 medium aubergines, cut into 2cm pieces
olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
500g lamb mince
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
75g chopped dried apricots (raisins or dates also work really well)
200g chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned
250g white rice (I like basmati but any will do)
600ml lamb or chicken stock
75g toasted pine nuts, flaked almonds (optional)
10–15 fresh mint leaves, shredded (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas 4. Place the prepared aubergine onto a baking tray (you may need two), drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, turning once halfway through. Ensure the aubergine pieces on the outsides of the tray don’t burn.
  2. While the aubergine is cooking, place a large casserole dish on the stove and add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic, season and cook for around 10 minutes on a low heat until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Now add the lamb, increase the heat and seal for 5 minutes. You want the lamb mince to have a little colour. Now add the spices, the cooked aubergine, the sultanas and the chopped tomatoes and stir well. Cook for 8–10 minutes to allow the spices to properly cook out. Season again.
  4. Now add the rice. Coat it well in all the spices and pan juices before adding the stock. Put on the lid and bring to the boil, then transfer the casserole dish to the oven and cook for 35–40 minutes. Check it once whilst cooking – if it looks like it needs a little more stock, now is a good time to add it.
  5. You may want to add some toasted nuts and freshly shredded mint before taking the dish to the table. You can have this with griddled flatbreads and some Greek yoghurt. However, we had it simply with fresh cucumber, radishes and yoghurt salad on the side.

Spiced Lamb & Aubergine Pilaf

Aubergine Fritters

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Following on my recent post on aubergines, here is another very simple but delicious aubergine dish, which is great as a snack/starter with the slice of rye bread or it can be a side dish too. It is ideal for the picnics and BBQs. This time it’s My Mum’s recipe:

AUBERGINE FRITTERS

Ingredients:

2 aubergines

3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

about 1 cup of bread crumbs

sal/pepper

1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves, chopped

olive oil for frying

Method:

1. Wash the aubergine, cut into round slices, place in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat up a frying pan  with a few spoons of olive oil, wait till it hot, but do not allow the oil to burn.

3. Put the bread crumbs on a separate plate, take each slice of aubergine, dunk the both sides into the bread crumbs and place it on a frying pan. Allow about 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden coloured and cooked through.

4. Place it on a plate, garnish with fresh chopped basil and garlic.

New Forest Walk & Aubergine Rolls

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What sort of thing do you think about when walking through a beautiful  rolling wilderness with its vibrant moss carpet, rolling green hills, burnt colour trails and different hues of purple? Call me crazy, but a recent walk we took through the New Forest brought only one thing to my mind – my Dad’s Aubergine Rolls. I think the same colour pallet gave me a hint, or I was just hungry…

 

AUBERGINE ROLLS WITH COTTAGE CHEESE STUFFING

Ingredients:

2 aubergines, sliced length ways

400 cottage cheese

3 cloves garlic, crushed

150g walnuts, finely chopped

salt/pepper to taste

olive oil for frying

handful of basil leaves

Method:

1. Cut the aubergines length ways, brush it with olive oil on both sides and fry on a pan until cooked through and pale golden. Set aside on a paper tower to absorb excess of the oil.

2. In a bowl mix together cottage cheese, crushed garlic, finely chopped walnuts, salt and pepper.

3. Take an aubergine slice, place the scoop of the cottage filling closer to one side and carefully roll up. Continue the same process with the rest of the aubergines and filling. Place the rolls on a plate, decorate with the basil leaves.

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