Eggplant Stuffed with Lamb and Pine Nuts


*4 medium eggplants (about 2 ½ lb/1.2 kg), halved lengthwise
*6 tablespoons/90 ml olive oil
* 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
*1 ½ tablespoons sweet paprika
*1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
*2 medium onions, (12 oz/340 g in total), finely chopped
*1 lb/500 g ground lamb
*7 tablespoons/50 g pine nuts (I used chopped walnuts instead)
*2/3 oz/20 g flat leaf parsley, chopped
*2 teaspoons tomato paste (I used homemade ketchup instead)
*3 teaspoons superfine sugar
*2/3 cup/150 ml water
*1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
*1 teaspoon tamarind paste
*4 cinnamon sticks
*salt and freshly ground pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F./220 degrees C.

2. Place the eggplant halves , skin side down, in a roasting pan large enough to accommodate them snugly. Brush the flesh with 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with 1 teaspoon of the salt and plenty of the black pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

3. While the eggplants are cooking, you can start making the stuffing by heating the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan. Mix together the cumin, paprika, and ground cinnamon and add half of this spice mix to the pan, along with the onions. Cook over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes, stirring often, before adding the lamb, pine nuts, parsley, tomato paste, 1 teaspoon of the sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and some black pepper. Continue to cook and stir for another 8 minutes, until the meat is cooked.

4. Place the remaining spice mix in a bowl and add the water, lemon juice, tamarind, the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar, the cinnamon sticks, and ½ teaspoon salt; mix well.

5. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F (195 degrees C). Pour the spice mix into the bottom of the eggplant roasting pan. Spoon the lamb mixture on top of each eggplant. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, return to the oven, and roast for 1 ½ hours, by which point the eggplants should be completely soft and the sauce thick; twice during the cooking, remove the foil and baste the eggplants with the sauce, adding some water if the sauce dried out. Serve warm, not hot, or at room temperature.




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