Roasted Za’atar Aubergines with Spicy Sumac Lamb , pine nuts and raita
Updated: Feb 6
Note: Prepare the Raita the night before
For the Aubergines
4 medium Aubergines – Stalk removed and cut in half down the long side
4 level teaspoons Za’atar (I like either Zaytoun_cic or Waitrose own brand)
Good quality Olive Oil – (I have been using Elizondo Olive oil No3)
Salt and Pepper to season
For the Lamb
2 tbsp olive oil
1 Large white Onion finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
400g lamb mince
2 tablespoons cumin
3 teaspoon sumac
1 teaspoon mixed spice
4 tablespoons tomato purée
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses ( the brand Odysea has a wonderful flavour and it is now available in Sainsburys)
½ teaspoon Cayenne pepper but adjust to suit preferred heat level
Salt and pepper to season
Small handful of pine nuts
for vegetarians replace lamb with crumbled Tempeh or Quorn mince
For the Raita
1/2 cucumber - peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
125g) tub Greek yoghurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
Salt to taste
Garnish: rough copped flat leaf parsley and some lemon wedges
Method for the Raita
Stir together the cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, mint, and salt in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
Method for the Aubergines
Pre- heat the oven to 180c, score the aubergines in a crisscross pattern into the white flesh, try not to cut too deep through the skin. Lay them flesh side down on to some kitchen roll for 10 minutes to remove excess moisture.
Drizzle the flesh with a olive oil and season add a teaspoon of the Za’atar on to each aubergine and massage into the flesh.
Pop into the oven for 20 minutes until they are soft and brown on top
Whilst the Aubergines are cooking
In a frying pan add a little olive oil, heat and sprinkle in the pine nuts, add a little sprinkle of salt and toast to golden brown but be careful they do not burn, take off the heat and set to one side.
Method For the Lamb
Heat the oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat, add the onion and cook for a few mins until soft. Add garlic and cook for a further 1 min.
Add the lamb, increase the heat and fry when it has started to brown add the Sumac, Mixed spice and Cumin - stir for 1 min, and then add tomato purée, pomegranate molasses and seasoning, along with 75ml water. Allow to simmer for 10 mins, stirring now and then – the mince should be sticky rather than saucy. Leave to one side.
When you are ready to plate, place the aubergines on a platter and evenly spoon the lamb mix over the top, add a spoonful of the raita to each aubergine, sprinkle over the pine nuts and the chopped parsley and place some lemon wedges on the plate.
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