Ground Lamb Stuffed Eggplant with Couscous
Why we love it:
- 2 Eggplants
- 21⁄2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
- 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt (divided)
- 1⁄2 Yellow Onion
- 1 pound Ground Lamb
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1 Tablespoon Paprika
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 11⁄4 cups Water
- 1 cup Couscous
- 1 Lemon (zested and juiced)
- 1 pint Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 cup Kalamata Olives (pitted)
- 3 ounces Blue Cheese (if you used something else for the cobb this week, use it here too)
- 1 head Romaine Lettuce (or arugula)
1. PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 400 DEGREES
Cut the eggplant in half. With a paring knife, mark an outline of where you’ll scoop out the eggplant to make room for stuffing. You can crosshatch across the flesh to make it easier to remove. Then, use a thin spoon with a sharp edge to scoop out some of the center meat, but take care not to pierce the skin or get too close to it. Leave about a ½ inch rim of eggplant flesh in the skin on each half. Repeat with the other halves. Reserve scooped out flesh.
Drizzle each half with some olive oil and season with a pinch of the salt. Place the pieces cut side down on a lined baking sheet and into the oven for 17 minutes. When done, remove and flip them over. They can wait until you’re ready to stuff.
Mince the scooped out eggplant into small pieces. They can be somewhat irregular, we just ran our knife through it like you would when chopping herbs.
Peel the onion and cut it in half. Dice into small cubes.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the rest of the olive oil (about 2 Tablespoons). Add the onion and the ground lamb. Stir with a wooden spoon, breaking up the meat into a crumbly texture.
Mince and add the garlic. Add the paprika and black pepper. Add the minced chopped eggplant which you scooped out. Continue cooking meat and minced eggplant, turning down the heat to medium or medium low if it’s browning too much.
Heat the water in a microwavable measuring cup for about 4 minutes or until it’s boiling. (You can also do this in a kettle or in a small pot on the stove, whatever is easiest for you). Place the couscous in a medium bowl. Zest the lemon into it, then squeeze in the lemon juice too. Add the remaining salt (about 1 teaspoon).
Have a cover ready for the bowl. Plastic wrap or beeswax wrap works or a tight-fitting lid on the bowl.
Pour the hot water over the couscous, and stir to combine, then cover immediately! Let it sit for 6 minutes.
5. TOMATOES + OLIVES + CHEESE
Cut the tomatoes in half. Add them to the pan with the lamb.
Cut the olives in half and set them aside.
Dice or crumble the cheese, set aside.
Very thinly shred the romaine. Wash and dry it well. Set aside for serving.
When the couscous has sat, open the lid and use a fork to fluff it up. Stir it into the meat mixture - whether that means in the saute pan, or placing the meat in the bowl with the couscous is up to you!
Add the olives and cheese, stir well.
Remove the eggplant from the oven, if you haven’t already. Use a ½ cup scoop and evenly press the mixture into the eggplant shells. Mound the filling as needed to get everything to fit.
Divide the lettuce among plates to make a bed for the eggplant. If you’re serving them immediately after stuffing, you don’t need to return them to the oven, and they’re actually wonderful at room temperature too. Place an eggplant on each plate.
Optional Toppings - drizzle the plate with olive oil, and/or hot sauce (sriracha), OR with high quality tahini, or with yogurt.