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EGGPLANT WITH CRUMBLED BEEF, TOMATOES & MINT (Gluten-Free)

150

Ingredients:  (Serves 4)

2 medium firm eggplants
Sea salt
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

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. Slice eggplant in thick slices, lightly salt and set aside for 30 minutes to allow eggplant to weep, which removes the bitterness.
  3. Press with a spatula to squeeze any last remaining liquid. Rinse in cold water briefly; drain. Pat dry with a clean tea towel.
  4. Lay the slices on a baking sheet and brush lightly on both sides with a little olive oil.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Add the chopped garlic, oregano, marjoram and thyme. Stir and cook a minute.
  8. Add the tomatoes, balsamic and broth; stir and bring to a simmer. season with sea salt, to taste.
  9. Reduce heat and cover, keeping it on a steady slow simmer.
  10. 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.
  11. Lightly oil four individual serving gratin dishes or a single shallow baking dish such as an 9 x 12-inch baking dish.
  12. When the eggplant is done remove the baking sheet from the oven and reset your oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  13. Divide the cooked eggplant slices among the four individual gratin dishes (or layer them into a single baking dish).
  14. Top with the cooked beef and tomato mixture.
  15. Bake in a 350ºF moderate oven till heated through- about 15 to 20 minutes.
  16. Chop some of the mint leaves and sprinkle on the dish before serving. Add a mint sprig for color.
  17. Serve the baked eggplant with a generous crisp green salad.
 
*If you’d like to serve this dish with a grain it pairs well with low glycemic brown rice.