2 large eggplant (about 1 pound each)
Course salt (kosher or sea)
Good olive oil
2 pounds boneless lamb leg or shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut in 1 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 tsp ground turmeric (I sprinkled a bit extra)
4 large cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp Saffron water (8-10 saffron threads soaked in hot water)
1 medium red onion finely chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 tsp sweet paprika
2/3 tsp ground cumin
Healthy pinch of Cayenne pepper
2 medium size, ripe red tomatoes, halved, seeded and diced
Pinch of sugar
Juice of 1 lemon (or to taste)
- Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large tagine or stew pot over medium low heat. Add the meat, 1/2 tsp salt, and turmeric and cook for 15 minutes covered. Uncover and raise the heat to medium, boiling off the liquid and browning the meat lightly on all sides.
- While the meat is cooking, use a spoon or mortar to mash together the crushed garlic and 1 tsp salt into a paste. Divide in half and reserve one half. To the other, blend in the ginger, black pepper, and saffron water, then slowly stir in 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1/2 cup hot water.
- Preheat your oven to 375.
- Trim the top and bottom of each eggplant. Peel 4 or 5 vertical strips from each eggplant, making them striped. Cut each eggplant in half width wise. Then cut each half into 4 thick strips length wise. Sprinkle salt on the eggplant strips and let them drain in a non reactive colander or on paper towels for 45 minutes to 1 hour if time allows.
- When the meat is browned, add this spice and water mixture to the meat along with the onions and half the parsley and cilantro and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 2 1/2 hours until the meat is very tender.
- Rub or spray a small amount of olive oil on the eggplant, place on a flat baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until soft.
- In a blender, pulse the cooked eggplant, reserved garlic paste, 2 Tbsp of the remaining parsley and 2 Tbsp of the remaining cilantro, paprika, cumin and cayenne.
- Add three Tbsp of olive oil to a skillet, bring to medium high heat, and add the diced tomatoes, 1 tsp salt, and the sugar and stir frequently for 5 minutes. Then add the eggplant mixture from the blender, lower the temp to low, and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes until the moisture evaporates.
- Add the eggplant to the lamb and mix to combine. Add the lemon juice gradually, stopping when the flavoring is right to your taste. Add up to 1/2 cup hot water if desired if the consistency is too thick.
- Sprinkle the remaining parsley and cilantro on top and serve.