Italian Stuffed Aubergines with Lamb

The traditional melanzana alla parmigiana is a favourite Italian dish of mine, we usually have it as a side.  It can however be a little time consuming midweek to make that alongside a protein, or additional dish, so for a midweek version of the lovely aubergine based beauty, I have stuffed a simple Spring lamb Ragu, packed with vegetables, including aubergine (you’d never know it is in there) into aubergine shells and topped with lots of parmesan.  Very simple, and surprisingly little washing up!

This is pretty enough for entertaining, but on the flip side lamb is a great red meat for weaning babies and toddlers as it’s really easy to digest, as beef sometimes isn’t.  The sauce on its own freezes well, and will also purée well, I often make double and freeze portions of the sauce for my toddler to have with pasta, mashed potato, rice or quinoa, it’s a great alternative to traditional spag Bol.

Lamb stuffed aubergines

Ingredients- serves 4 

500g lamb mince

2 large aubergines

1 large red or white onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

300ml passata, or chopped tomatoes if it’s easier

1/2 stick of celery, finely chopped

1/2 carrot, finely chopped

2 bay leaves

Teaspoon of oregano

Black pepper

6 tablespoons of finely grated parmesan

Oil for cooking

Method

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.

Slice the aubergines in half lengthways, and scoop out most of the flesh with a teaspoon to make two little aubergine boats leaving about 1cm so that the skins stand up.  Drizzle with a little good oil, I use avocado, season with black pepper, and pop into the oven, removing and setting aside after 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, add the onions, celery, carrot, bay leaves, a good grind of black pepper, the oregano and a tablespoon of the oil you are using.  Sweat over a medium heat, stirring so it doesn’t stick, for 5 minutes.  Finely chop the aubergine flesh and add that to the pan along with the garlic.  Keep the mixture moving over the heat for another 8-10 minutes until it’s all softened, then add your lamb mince and brown all over.

Pour in the passata, give it a good mix, and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes.  You want a thick sauce that will sit happily and safely in the aubergine skins, so if the ragu looks a little watery, keep it cooking for a bit longer to reduce (I would cook this for as long as you have got, as it only gets better) if it seems a bit too thick, then add a drop of water.

Test the sauce for seasoning and flavour, adjusting as you see fit with pepper, and if you aren’t serving this to kids, then add some salt if you wish.

Heap the aubergine containers with the rich ragu (as above, freeze any that’s left over), divide the parmesan between each one, and pop on a baking tray, nestled together to help keep their shape, for 20 minutes into the preheated oven, or until they are golden on top.

The only thing to compliment this would be some green salad or vegetables, otherwise, it’s pretty much a meal in itself.

Tip: to make this dairy free, substitute the parmesan for some breadcrumbs tossed in garlic infused olive oil.

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Categories: Impressive Starters, Principles of Eating, Real food for Babies, Summer Family Recipes, Warming Winter Meals

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  1. Easter Eating: 5 Delicious Ways with Lamb | Family Fork - April 2, 2015

    […] 1. Italian Stuffed Aubergines with Lamb.  Recipe here. […]

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