Maybe I was craving some food to remind me of home, or maybe I had an eggplant in the fridge and some ground lamb frozen from last time I was in Michigan, I'm not telling. But when I looked in my A Taste of Lebanon cookbook I found the perfect recipe, Ma'aloobi. It's packed full of vegetables and potatoes and then has a wonderful filling of ground lamb and toasted pine nuts. And it's fun to say too! I did tweak the recipe some to make it a little healthier. I promised the Brain that I wouldn't make any dinner that had over 500 calories per serving. I figured this recipe on 4 servings, but really it could have served 6.
What resulted was a warm and delicious meal to cheer Marissa and Tony on Dancing with the Stars. And the leftovers were a great lunch today. Especially because it's darn cold outside and we might get snow. grrr.
I really wish the fighting in the Middle East would stop because I would love someday to visit. I love the warming spices and the beautiful dishes. Perhaps I'm fortunate that I grew up in the Detroit area and was exposed to a lot of Middle Eastern culture. I think it's a terrific and old culture and it really saddens me that on one end it seems no one can get along and that we seem to be messing up the other end.
adapted from A Taste of Lebanon
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 pound ground lamb
1 medium onion (half finely chopped)
1 tsp salt (divided)
1/2 tsp pepper (divided)
1 large eggplant
2 large potatoes
2 large tomatoes
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup water
Toast pine nuts in skillet until nuts are golden brown. Add meat and chopped onion. Saute until meat changes color. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Set aside.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Peel eggplant and potatoes. Cut both into 1/2 inch thick slices. Cut tomatoes 1/4 inch thick. Slice remaining onion 1/4 inch thick. Divide the vegetables into 2 groups.
Layer the first group by alternating the four vegetables in a casserole dish. Sprinkle the meat filling evenly over the vegetables. Layer the remaining vegetables over the filling. Add the remaining salt and pepper, and cinnamon. Mix the tomato paste and water together in a small bowl and pour on top. Cover with lid and bake for 1 hour or until the vegetables are tender.
Approximate nutritional information per serving (4 servings): 432.4 calories, 19.8g fat, 50.3g carbohydrates, 9.6g fiber, 17.2g protein, 3.7g sugar, 767.9mg sodium, 41.2mg cholesterol