This is a lovely layered dish that is full of flavor, from the delightful taste of baked eggplant to the wonderfully spiced ground lamb seasoning with tomato bringing it all together to create a wonderful combination of ingredients.
As I write this we are celebrating Eid ul Fitr here in Jordan.
This is the feast that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunup to sundown everyday for thirty days.
It is definitely a challenge, but one where the devout look forward to this holy time of the year.
When the feast comes around there is a lot of celebrating and a lot of those celebrations include food.
People do a lot of visiting each other and exchange small gifts.
Just about everything in town is closed.
The holiday is normally three days, and one of the benefits is that the streets have much less traffic which means you can actually get around without too much hassle for a nice change.
As kids we looked forward to the feasts since it was typical for kids to be given money as their gift.
So the more relatives we visited and the more who visited us the better we did.
We had to be strategic as well.
We would figure out who the most generous relatives were and try to be sure we were in the right place at the right time to receive our feast gift of cash.
Nowadays we visit relatives and take them Arabic sweets like baklawa, and maamoul.
We have the obligatory cup of tea and dessert and then we go to the next place and do it all over again before going home to wait for the very same relatives we had just visited to come visit us for their obligatory cup of tea and dessert.
Humans are indeed strange!
But tradition is tradition, and it lives on.
When I was a very little kid living in Jerusalem, before the Eid ul Adha which is known as the feast of sacrifice, and the holier of the two feasts, a baby sheep would show up in the yard and graze on the grass.
I thought it was wonderful that we had a pet sheep, until I realized that the sheep was going to be the feast.
As it got itself fattened up it was slaughtered on the feast leaving me feel sorry for it.
It used to be that we were more in contact with our food and where it came from.
If we wanted meat, we had to butcher it ourselves.
I wonder how many people would still do that if it was the only option.
I know I would have a hard time slaughtering my own food, yet I enjoy eating the meat and certainly like the convenience of picking up what I want from the grocery store packaged and ready.
Our sheep would be cut up and anything extra could be ground and saved for another time, like when we made this baked eggplant dish.
If you are a fan of eggplant then you will certainly love this dish with its rich meatiness.
The good thing is that these days you can get your ground lamb at the butcher.
- Fry onions and garlic in the ghee over medium heat until soft.
- Add lamb and mix with onions add salt.
- Add cinnamon, pepper, red pepper flakes, coriander.
- Cook until meat is brown.
- Add canned tomatoes.
- Add pine nuts. Cook for five more minutes. Set aside.
- Slice tomatoes.
- Place cooked eggplant in a casserole dish. Add meat mixture to cover eggplant. Cover meat mixture with sliced tomatoes.
- Bake at 400°F (200°C) for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and pour some olive oil to moisten tomatoes. Bake another five minutes or until tomatoes are cooked.