The silky flesh of the roasted eggplants gets topped with an aromatic lamb, currant and pomegranate molasses sauce. A dollop of cooling yoghurt swirled with fiery harissa is the crowning glory of this much-loved dish.
3 large eggplants, halved lengthways
sea salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 red capsicum, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon each ground coriander and cumin
½ teaspoon each ground cinnamon, smoked paprika and chilli flakes
500 grams lamb mince
¼ cup tomato paste
1 cup crushed, tinned tomatoes
1/3 cup currants
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 cup thick plain yoghurt
1/3 cup purchased harissa
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan bake.
Score the flesh of the eggplant in a criss-cross pattern, taking care not to cut through the skin. Place cut side up on a baking tray, brush oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, or until tender but not collapsing. Set aside.
FILLING: Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the onion, capsicum, garlic and all the spices. Cover and cook gently for 10 minutes, or until soft, stirring often. Add a splash of water if the pan is too dry. Increase the heat and add the mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon so there are no lumps. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes, currants, soy and pomegranate molasses. Cook for 15 minutes, until well reduced. The filling can be made up to 2 days ahead.
Spoon the lamb over the eggplant and bake for 20 minutes, until hot.
TO SERVE: Top each eggplant with a dollop of yoghurt and as much harissa as desired.
DRINKS MATCH: There is nothing like a slosh of softly spiced pinot noir with lamb. But the exotic spices, cherry and tamarillo layers, suede-like textures and dried herb notes in the Astrolabe Sleepers Vineyard Kekerengu Coast Pinot Noir 2019 ($50) are a step up. astrolabewines.co.nz