Eggplant, Lamb & Rice Casserole
Cinnamon and a hint of cloves bring out the flavor of the lamb. Serve with crusty bread.
Yield: 4 servings
Active Time: 20
Total Time: 60
- 2 eggplants, (2 pounds total), cut in half lengthwise
- 8 ounces ground lamb
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 14-ounce can tomatoes, undrained
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth
- Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably imported (2 ounces)
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Place eggplant halves, cut-side down, in a roasting pan. Add water to a depth of 1/2 inch. Bake until tender, 20 to 25 minutes; set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 400°F.
- While the eggplant is roasting, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground lamb and sauté, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander and drain off fat. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add red peppers and garlic and cook for 2 minutes longer. Stir in tomatoes and their juice, oregano, thyme, cinnamon and cloves. Simmer, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, until the mixture has thickened slightly, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Scoop out eggplant flesh and chop coarsely. Stir rice, broth, chopped eggplant and the reserved lamb into the tomato mixture; bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and place it in the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Season with salt and pepper. Dot with feta and serve.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (94% daily value), Folate (54% dv), Selenium (36% dv), Vitamin A (30% dv), Potassium (26% dv), Iron (24% dv), Zinc (23% dv). Calcium (19% dv), Magnesium (16% dv).
3 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 2 1/2 starch, 5 vegetable, ,2 medium-fat meat, 1/2 fat