Warm spices of ginger, cumin & cinnamon fill the air. You tumble in some fresh mint & coriander & give the lamb a stir. It’s almost ready. The eggplant slices have been whipped off the barbecue & you marvel at their perfect grill marks. You arrange the fragrant lamb with layers of the lightly charred eggplant then dollop herb yogurt. All that’s left to do is scatter some ruby-like pomegranate seeds over the top & Moroccan-style lamb & grilled eggplant dinner is ready to eat. Too much fluff? At least I didn’t mention anything about genies.
It may seem rather ironic that I’ve co-written a Moroccan cookbook & I’ve taught Moroccan cooking classes, but I’ve never actually been to Morocco. Thankfully Sydney, Australia where I was born & raised, has a plethora of excellent Moroccan restaurants & chefs who allowed me into their kitchens to learn some of their secrets. I’ve only witnessed a taste of this mysterious, complex cuisine so I don’t make any claims this dish is authentic, it’s an Aussie translation.
What better way to eat perfectly grilled eggplant than cloaked in sweet, spicy lamb? I can think of none other. Eggplant, is available year-round but it’s hitting its peak. Not known for having one stand-out nutrient, eggplants have an impressive array of many vitamins & minerals. I just love how they’re like sponges soaking up flavors of whatever you douse them in.
Now to serve my Moroccan-inspired lamb & eggplant recipe I do it both ways, depending on my mood de jour: either family style, or I make little stacks like I did in the pic above. It all tastes the same but I like the stacks for individual plating.
One day I’ve like to visit Morocco & eat true traditionally Moroccan food. Until then I’ll settle for making it at home. If any of you have visited Morocco, drop me a line & tell me about what you ate. And if you’re an eggplant lover check out my recipe for spicy pesto eggplant parmigiana. Until next time, I’m off to find that darn genie.
A PINTEREST IMAGE TO SHARE
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for eggplant
- 1 lb (453g) lean ground lamb
- 1 red onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- salt & freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons harissa (North African chili paste)
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
- 20 oz (566g) eggplant, cut into 3/8-inch (1cm) slices
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- pinch salt
- 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds (or chopped pistachios)
- mint & cilantro leaves & lemon wedges, for serving
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook lamb 7 to 10 minutes or until browned. Add onion, garlic and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Stir in harissa, ginger, cinnamon and cumin. Cook, stirring for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Stir in stock and honey. Reduce heat to medium, low. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or until mixture is thickened.
- Combine mint and cilantro in a small bowl. Add half to lamb mixture; stir.
- Add yogurt, juice and salt to remaining herbs; stir to combine. Chill until ready to use.
- While lamb is cooking, brush eggplant slices with a little oil. Cook on hot grill pan or on hot, greased barbecue grill, 2 to 3 minutes each side or until grill marks appear.
- To assemble, arrange eggplant slices on a platter or individual serving plates, top with lamb mixture. Dollop yogurt mixture over lamb. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, mint, cilantro and lemon wedges.