Meatballs in Eggplant Sauce Recipe
This was a great year for eggplant. One comment that we had from many of our CSA customers was that they had some trouble finding enough ways to use the eggplant. Here is a meatballs in eggplant sauce recipe that is a bit different and quite tasty too.
This recipe is based on one that can be found in the book Pleyn Delit: Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks. Pleyn Delit features typical medieval recipes that the authors have revised to make them suitable for the modern kitchen. This is Deborah’s version, which is easier to prepare and produces (we think) a better result than the original.
Meatballs in Eggplant Sauce
1 large eggplant (about 2 pounds)
1 lb ground lamb or beef
14 oz broth (beef or chicken, to taste)
2 tbsp salt (for the eggplant)
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3 cloves garlic
4 tbsp minced parsley
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Peel and chop the eggplant into 1″ cubes. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons salt. Toss the eggplant to evenly coat with the salt. Allow to sit in the bowl at room temperature for 1 hour. Drain the dark liquid from the eggplant. Rinse the eggplant under running water. Squeeze the eggplant with your hands until no more liquid comes out. Place on paper towels to absorb any remaining water.
Preheat a mixture of 1/2 tsp sesame and 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a skillet to medium heat. The sesame oil is strongly flavored, so you may want to vary the ratio depending to your taste. Fry the eggplant, turning several times, until very soft. Remove the eggplant from the pan and set aside.
Form the meat into small meatballs. Brown the meatballs in the same pan that the eggplant was cooked in. While the meatballs are browning add the dry spices and garlic. When the meatballs are browned, add the broth. Cover, lower heat and allow the meatballs to simmer in the broth for 10 minutes.
Add the eggplant to the meatball broth mixture. Cook until the eggplant dissolves into the broth and the mixture thickens, about 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Just before serving, add the yogurt and chopped parsley.
Serve warm over cooked rice or couscous.
Notes: Watch the amount of cinnamon added, too much will overwhelm the other flavors. The amount of coriander and cumin can easily be doubled or more, depending on your taste.
The eggplant can carry some salt, so taste the dish before adding extra salt. Don’t skip the maceration step – the eggplant will be bitter without the salt.
Be sure to cook the sauce down before adding the yogurt, or it will be too runny.
Variations – This type of dish makes a great curry. Use curry powder instead of the cumin and cinnamon. You could also use chicken instead of lamb or beef.
Add chives in addition to the parsley.
If you like some heat, add your favorite hot peppers.
Let us know what variations you have tried!