By Bashir Munye and Damon Clements

Makes 4 main-course servings

2 eggplants (about 1 pound each)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cayenne, plus more if needed
1/2 tsp nigella seed or cumin seed
1 large onion, finely diced
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more if needed
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium tomatoes, diced
2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 cup breadcrumbs (fresh or dry)
1/2 cup crumbled feta
2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Line the bottom of a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Halve eggplants lengthwise. Using a soup spoon, scoop out the eggplant pulp, being careful not to break the skin, and place pulp into a small bowl; set aside. Place hollowed-out eggplant halves onto baking sheet.

In a large sauté pan or skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add lamb and cook until lightly browned, stirring occasionally to break up meat, about 5 minutes. Transfer cooked lamb to a bowl, leaving oil and natural juices in the pan.

Reduce heat to medium. In same pan, stir in cumin, coriander, cayenne, and nigella seed and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Stir in reserved eggplant pulp, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally until eggplant pulp is soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and browned lamb and cook, stirring occasionally until tomatoes have softened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Stir in oregano.

In small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, feta and parsley. Fill each hollowed-out eggplant half with one-quarter of the lamb and eggplant mixture. Top each eggplant half evenly with the breadcrumb and feta mixture. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil.

Bake in a 350ºF oven for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake until feta and breadcrumbs are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. This makes for a great meal, accompanied by a bowl of steaming soup and lightly marinated garden vegetables.

© Edible Toronto, Fall 2009
All rights reserved.