Exotic Eggplant Casserole

This exotic and flavourful savory dish is a traditional Mesopotamian (Iraqi) favourite and has some wonderful flavour undertones.  The layering makes for a beautiful tasting and looking casserole that will surely be as addictive as it is fascinating to those you serve it too.  Don’t let the ingredients intimidate you, everything is readily available and fairly simple to prepare.

Time:

1 hour and a half

Serves:

8

Good for:

  • Hearty casserole dish
  • Savory housewarming and party dish idea

Ingredients:

  • ½  kg cubed beef or lamb meat
  • 50g diced onions
  • 100g tomato paste
  • 2-3 medium eggplants
  • 3 tbsp cooking or olive oil
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 medium potatoes (with the skin)
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 green pepper (capsicum)

For the sauce:

  • 200g tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • Pinch of Salt, pepper
  • 1 tbsp all-spice
  • 1 ½ cup of water

Kitchen things you’ll need:

  • Vegetable peeler
  • Casserole/baking dish

Making it:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (180°C).
  • Saute and brown the meat with the diced onions and tomato paste.
  • Peel (peel skin stripes and keep every other skin stripe to maintain slice structure and avoid making it into a mush) and cut the eggplants into slices ½ inch in thickness.
  • Salt and fry the slices in the oil
  • Cut the medium onions into ½ inch thick slices
  • Cut the tomatoes, green pepper, and potatoes into ½ inch thick slices or so.
  • Place the onion slices in your backing dish/casserole, then layer the meat on top then the eggplant slices, then potato, tomato and finally the green pepper slices.
  • Pour the sauce on top (adjust spices to taste) until it covers the casserole halfway through.
  • Place the casserole in the oven (cover with the foil for 45 min then uncover for another 10 minutes to brown up and for the sauce to thicken towards the end.

Tips/notes:

  • Garnish with parsley to add a nice splash of additional green on top.

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