One of my favourite cook books at the moment is Sally Butcher’s Snackistan. It satisfies my cravings for food that’s flavour dense, nutrient dense and mostly low carb.
Over Christmas I made the Dolmeh-ye-Aloo Siah (Lamb-stuffed Prunes) a couple of times and had to stop myself gorging on them. They’re a little too carby and – luckily – a bit too fiddly for everyday cooking but I love the flavour so much that I decided to adapt them to a supper recipe.
I made a batch of spicy lamb mince with a few prunes included and then served that with some baked aubergine. It was just as delicious IMHO. All the flavour, half the fuss, and a fraction of the carbs.
Here’s how I did it.
- 3 half aubergines (or 6 if you’re very hungry)
- 3 gluts of olive oil
- salt and pepper
For the Lamb Mince:
- 3 tbsp light olive oil
- I medium red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Chunk of fresh ginger, chopped fine
- 6 prunes, chopped fine
- 1 tsp of Ras el Hanout (or similar quantities of your favourite Moroccan spice mix)
- 300g organic ground lamb
- 300g tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 tsp dried mint (or 1 tbsp fresh if it’s in season)
Heat the oven to 220’C then halve the aubergines and score the flesh in a criss cross pattern. Lay them in a roasting dish and pour over a generous amount of olive oil and a twist of salt and pepper. Bake them for about one hour, or until soft and silky.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan before adding the onion and cooking until soft. Adding a pinch of salt at this stage stops it from burning. When the onions are starting to go translucent add the garlic, ginger, prunes and spices, adding a little more olive oil if the mixture looks too dry. It’s important not to burn it at this stage.
Once this is starting to smell delicious – about 5 minutes – add the lamb mince to the pan, keeping the heat medium high while it browns. When it looks mostly cooked and a little coloured add the tomatoes and dried mint and simmer gently for 30 minutes or so until the mince is tender.
When you’re ready to eat, place half an aubergine on a plate, spoon over a third of the mince and serve with a side salad of rocket, tomato and red onion.
The great thing about this recipe is that timing is optional. Both the mince and the aubergines will wait for each other so there’s no rush. Make sure the aubergines are well cooked or they taste terrible.