What is it about a November weekend? For food it calls for red meat, a substantial sauce and potatoes. My taste buds were in search of a lively braise including lamb and eggplant. This recipe requires the time to cure the eggplant in salt (one hour) and the time to braise the lamb (the same hour).
Stew? It could be. Or you could add a crust and call it a pot pie. This one has a topping of cheddar enhanced mashed potatoes which makes it a Shepherd’s Pie. November calls for lengthy braises. Fortunately, November also allows the leisure to cook braises and stews.
This recipe is adapted to New Mexico, which means the addition of chiles (by now, dried and ground). Add cheddar and rosemary to the mashed potatoes and you enter the realm of the irresistible. Good pub grub taken to its logical extent. With this, drink the heartiest white wine you can find or a Pinot Noir or a substantial ale. Serve with haricots verts, broccoli or asparagus quickly sautéed with garlic. Just plain enjoy. Here you go:
Eggplant Lamb Shepherd’s Pie
1 Eggplant, peeled and diced to ¾ “
2 TBS Coarse Kosher Salt
2 LB Red skinned potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 TBS Butter
¼ C. Half and half
½ C. Cheddar, shredded
2 LB Lamb, from leg or shoulder , trimmed and cut to 1” cubes
1 medium onion, diced to ¼ “
½ C Carrot, diced to ¼ “
½ C. Celery, diced to ¼ “
6 Garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 C. Diced tomatoes
1 TBS Dried Oregano
1 TBS Fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 TBS Ancho chile ground
½ tsp Chipotle chile ground
Sprinkle eggplant with kosher salt and spread on a baking sheet. Toss and let stand for one hour. Rinse and pat dry.
Put potatoes in enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender (approx. 12 minutes). Remove to a heated bowl. Add butter in 1 TBS increments. Stir in half and half to make a smooth puree. Add cheddar and one tablespoon rosemary and blend well. Keep warm in oven.
Rinse and drain eggplant. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Cook until soft (approximately 12 minutes.) Dredge lamb in flour and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.. Add to pan and cook until well browned. Remove from pan. Add beef stock and stir to incorporate bits in the pan, add to lamb and keep warm in a 350 degree oven. Add onion, celery and carrot to the sauté pan and cook until vegetables are soft. Add one TBS olive oil and stir well. Add three TBS flour, mixing well to make a roux Add two cups beef stock and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add rosemary and oregano Remove from heat. Return lamb, eggplant and tomatoes to the sauce, bring to a boil and simmer for two minutes. Pour into a nine-inch by thirteen-inch baking dish. Evenly cover with mashed potatoes. Bake for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.