Aubergine stuffed with lamb • Babousakia me arni

Tonia-buxton-stuffed-aubergine-greek-food

Aubergine stuffed with lamb • Babousakia me arni

A relative of both the potato and tomato family, there is something very exotic about aubergines. In this recipe, their creamy textured bitter-sweet flesh sponges up all the flavours of the Middle East…olive oil, warming spices, pine kernels, dried fruits, lamb.
This can be adapted into a wonderful vegetarian dish too…just substitute the lamb for chopped mushrooms, sultanas and pine kernels and ‘Embros!’…you have a great main course

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as
a meze.
2 aubergines
a generous glug of olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
250g of lean minced lamb
3 tbsp of tomato purée
3 cloves of garlic, coarsely
chopped
½ tsp of ground cinnamon
1 tsp of dried oregano or 1tbsp
freshly chopped
5 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
½ glass (100ml) of dry red wine
125g feta cheese, crumbled
salt and black pepper
Heat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.

Cut the aubergine in half lengthways and using a spoon, scoop out the flesh of each leaving a 1cm border. Rub the four shells generously with olive oil then snugly sit them upright in a shallow baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile coarsely chop the aubergine flesh. Heat a glug of olive oil in a large pan, add the aubergine and fry over a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Add some more olive oil to the pan, then the onions and cook until softened and transparent. Stir in the lamb and cook gently until browned and crumbly. Now add the tomato purée, garlic, cinnamon, oregano, tomatoes and wine. Mix well and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the delicious juices have reduced to just a few tablespoons.
Divide the lamb mixture into each aubergine shell. Put back in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Five minutes before the end of cooking sprinkle the feta cheese over the top of each stuffed shell.
Either serve straight to the table…delicious with extra virgin olive oil to drizzle, crusty bread and a Greek salad, or cool, then cover and chill to eat later as a meze.

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