Mama's Oh-So-Savory Lamb and Eggplant Casserole

4.6
(53)

The basis of this recipe came from my 4th grade teacher's mother who was Armenian, and I've been making it for over 50 years. It is easy to put together, but the longer the stovetop step simmers, the better the casserole will be when served. Leftovers are yummy! You could serve this over rice, if you like, with a green salad. I just serve it in pasta bowls with crusty bread, butter, and a nice glass of red wine. Enjoy!

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Prep Time:
35 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs
Additional Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs 35 mins
Servings:
4
Yield:
4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (1 pound) eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • salt

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 large sweet onion, coarsely chopped

  • 2 large stalks celery, sliced

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • 2 pinches dried oregano

  • 2 pinches ground dried rosemary

  • 2 pinches paprika

  • teaspoon dried mint

  • 1 pinch salt and ground black pepper to taste

  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic, minced

  • 3 tomatoes, coarsely chopped

  • 1 cup chicken broth

  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 1 pound ground lamb

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 lemon, juiced, or to taste

Directions

  1. Place eggplant in a colander set in a bowl or the sink; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and toss to coat. Let eggplant stand for at least 1 hour. Rinse off the bitter liquid and excess salt and drain well.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion and celery; cook and stir until onion has softened and turned translucent and celery is fragrant, about 5 minutes.

  3. While vegetables are cooking, combine ground cumin, oregano, rosemary, paprika, mint, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl or mortar and pestle and mix well; this is the lamb seasoning (see Cook's Note). Set seasoning aside.

  4. Stir eggplant cubes and garlic into the vegetables in the skillet, mixing well, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and sprinkle with half of the lamb seasoning mixture. Reserve remaining seasoning. Stir gently and cook for 5 minutes more.

  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 2-quart casserole dish.

  6. Pour chicken broth and half the can of tomato sauce into the skillet and simmer for 10 minutes; add a little water if the sauce starts to get dry. Transfer the sauce to the prepared casserole dish.

  7. Return the skillet to the stove over medium-high heat and heat the reserved tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Place ground lamb into skillet and sprinkle with remaining seasoning mixture. Brown lamb in the hot oil, stirring frequently, until the meat is evenly browned; it should look like imperfect meatballs.

  8. Gently transfer the lamb to the casserole dish, pushing it down into the vegetable mixture so that it is at least partially submerged. Stir fresh lemon juice into the remaining tomato sauce and pour the sauce over the casserole.

  9. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending upon how tender you like your vegetables.

Cook's Notes:

I use the lamb seasoning from Penzey's Spices®: it's a ground blend of oregano, rosemary, cumin, celery, sweet paprika, black pepper, onion, garlic, spearmint and ginger. I use 1 teaspoon of the seasoning blend instead of the individual spices listed in the recipe. You could easily improvise on this, if need be.

If you want the veggies to be soft, cover the casserole and bake for 1.5 hours. Uncover and bake for 45 minutes longer. I like this with veggies slightly crisp, so I bake this for 45 minutes to an hour, uncovered.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

385 Calories
23g Fat
23g Carbs
24g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 385
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 8g 38%
Cholesterol 77mg 26%
Sodium 1471mg 64%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 8g 30%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 24g
Vitamin C 29mg 145%
Calcium 94mg 7%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 1309mg 28%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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