EGGPLANT WITH CRUMBLED BEEF, TOMATOES & MINT (Gluten-Free)
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
2 medium firm eggplants
Extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3/4 pound ground organic free-range beef or buffalo meat
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon marjoram or basil
1 teaspoon thyme
6 Italian plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup light broth or pure plain tomato juice, as needed
2-3 fresh mint sprigs
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Slice eggplant in thick slices, lightly salt and set aside for 30 minutes to allow eggplant to weep, which removes the bitterness.
- Press with a spatula to squeeze any last remaining liquid. Rinse in cold water briefly; drain. Pat dry with a clean tea towel.
- Lay the slices on a baking sheet and brush lightly on both sides with a little olive oil.
- Roast the slices in the oven till fork tender and a wee bit crispy around the edges. This takes maybe 20 to 30 minutes or so depending upon your oven, altitude and the thickness of your eggplant.
- In the meantime heat a deep sided skillet on medium-high heat and cook the onions for five minutes or so, till softened; add and cook the ground beef, breaking it apart and stirring a bit here and there until nicely browned.
- Add the chopped garlic, oregano, marjoram and thyme. Stir and cook a minute.
- Add the tomatoes, balsamic and broth; stir and bring to a simmer. season with sea salt, to taste.
- Reduce heat and cover, keeping it on a steady slow simmer.
- Cook for about 15 minutes- till the beef is thoroughly cooked. If you need a small amount of liquid at this point, add a splash of broth. Remove from heat.
- Lightly oil four individual serving gratin dishes or a single shallow baking dish such as an 9 x 12-inch baking dish.
- When the eggplant is done remove the baking sheet from the oven and reset your oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- Divide the cooked eggplant slices among the four individual gratin dishes (or layer them into a single baking dish).
- Top with the cooked beef and tomato mixture.
- Bake in a 350ºF moderate oven till heated through- about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Chop some of the mint leaves and sprinkle on the dish before serving. Add a mint sprig for color.
- Serve the baked eggplant with a generous crisp green salad.