On Monday evening, as I was just cooking for myself, I decided to opt for some stuffed aubergines. I’ve done similar recipes before but this one was slightly different so I thought I’d give it a go. I got this recipe from the bbc website but amended it slightly by adding some leek as well. (I do like a bit of leek!)
6 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large red pepper, seeds removed, chopped
1½ teaspoons of freshly ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
½ a teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon of pimentón dulce (smoked sweet Spanish paprika)
A large pinch of crushed dried chillies
500g of lamb mince
6 tablespoons tomato sauce (I just used passata – that seemed to work)
100g of Manchego cheese, coarsely grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Cut each aubergine in half, lengthways and score the flesh in a tight criss-cross pattern, taking the knife through the flesh down to the skin, but taking care not to cut through the skin.
Place them on a baking tray and drizzle each half with half a tablespoon of the oil, season with salt and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the flesh is soft and tender but not browned. (The recipe says 30-40 minutes, but I found that mine were cooked through after about 25 minutes.)
Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the onion, leek, garlic, red pepper and spices and fry gently for 10 minutes. Add the lamb mince, breaking up any lumps with a spoon, and fry for 5-6 minutes, until all the meat is lightly browned.
Stir in the tomato sauce and simmer for a further 5-10 minutes.
Remove the aubergines from the oven.
Carefully scoop most of the flesh out of the baked aubergine halves, leaving the skins with a layer of flesh about ½cm thick.
Stir the scooped-out flesh into the lamb mixture with half a teaspoon of salt and some pepper to taste.
Spoon the mixture into each aubergine shell and sprinkle with the grated cheese. (I happened to have half a mozzarella ball in the fridge waiting to be used so I covered one half-aubergine with grated mozzarella and the other half with grated Manchego.)
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and golden-brown.
I served this with kale and corn on the cob.