The one thing that I haven't ever been able to get Jacob to try is eggplant. I find this extremely saddening because eggplant is one of my favorite things to eat. Apparently one time when he was overseas, the chow hall fed him some eggplant that turned him off of it for awhile. I've always been suggesting dishes that use eggplant, and he always turns them down and makes a face.
For this recipe, I figured the lamb and tomato sauce might be just enough to hide the eggplant taste so that I could sneak it in. When I mentioned it was a lamb stew dish over orzo, he quickly agreed to trying it...not even caring about the eggplant. So, I threw it on the menu excited that I finally whittled down his campaign against eggplant.
Lamb and Eggplant with Chiles over Orzo
slightly adapted from EveryDay with Rachel Ray January/February 2013
3/4 pound of orzo or small penne rigate
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground lamb or lamb stew meat
1 small, firm eggplant, peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatos
1 cup chicken or beef stock
1 cup feta crumbles
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and Pepper
1) Bring a large pot of water to boil, salt it, and add the orzo, cooking until al dente. Drain and return to the pot.
2) While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil, over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and cook until well browned, about 10 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.
3) Stir the eggplant, chiles, onion, garlic and rosemary into the lamb. Partially cover and cook until the vegetables are softened, about five minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, chicken or beef stock and lower the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
4) Toss the pasta with the feta and butter, and top with the lamb.
This dish was so different and tasty. It developed a lot more flavors than I expected it to in the short amount of time that it was on the stove. The lamb didn't have a gamy taste, because it absorbed all the tomato mixture. The only thing that I regret doing was that I only used one jalapeno instead of the two that it called for. I didn't get much heat, and was kind of looking for that element in this dish. You could also use a red fresno, which is on the same heat scale as a jalapeno. For people that like lamb...or even don't like lamb, this is a fantastic different lamb dish.