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Lamb stuffed eggplant October 21, 2010

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Lamb, Vegetables, Wolfe recipe.
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Wow. It has been a while between posts, hasn’t it? Remember a while ago when I said I wanted to have a full Relapse and not come out of the brownstone? Well, I’ve been on a bit of a self-inflicted Relapse, but not one which involved fun food experimentation, but one which instead involved my brain being stuffed full with so many things I had no time or brain space to cook or write. Fun!

As penance, I have for you another Nero Wolfe recipe,  one cooked as part of his lamb Relapse when he cooked lamb in 20 different ways. While I love both lamb roast and slow cooked lamb, I’m always pleased to try recipes which use lamb in different ways – in this case, mince.

To start with, I cooked some rice as I needed some pre-cooked rice for the recipe and didn’t have any lying around. Once it was cooled a bit, I mixed together all the ingredients that made up the filling: the rice, lamb mince, capsicum, pine nuts, parsley, dill, tomato juice and an onion. I should note that this recipe called for a grated onion and I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve had to grate, instead of dice, an onion. The result is best described as ‘onion goop’! After I mixed all the ingredients together, this is what it looked like:

Next, it was time to prepare the eggplant. I had chosen two large eggplants, and sliced them in half. Using a knife, I cut most of the eggplant flesh out, leaving about a 2cm ‘outline’ of eggplant. I found it was necessary to use a knife, rather than just scooping it out with a spoon as the recipe suggested, as the flesh was fairly firm. Now, the reason I’m telling you this in such detail is because I was *so* intent on cutting out eggplants, I didn’t take any photos! I do apologise.

After I’d prepared both the eggplant and the filling, I set up my cooking apparatus. The recipe instructed me to place a rack in the bottom of a casserole dish which I was then to cover with parsley. However, I had no rack which would fit inside my casserole dish, so I improvised. I put a small baking dish upside down in the bottom, and then put the inner plate of a spring-form pan on top. Here’s a shot of it half assembled:

I roughly chopped up more parsley and put a layer on top of the ‘rack’ I’d assembled. I filled each of the eggplants with the lamb mixture and put some butter on top. I added water and wine to the pot, and set it to simmer (with the lid on) on the stove.

The recipe stated that it would take about an hour to simmer it until the eggplant was tender; however, when I checked them after 40 minutes, they were quite soft.

While they were cooling, I made the sauce. I took some eggs and added some lemon juice to them (the recipe called for lime juice but I had no limes). I slowly heated this mixture in a saucepan until it thickened, and then added some of the cooking stock. Once it had been incorporated, I added paprika and a little bit of mustard. This was the end result.

As you can see the eggplants were quite large and held a great deal of filling! We did end up with a fair amount of leftover filling from this dish so please bear that in mind if you are following the recipe in The Nero Wolfe Cookbook. As for the dish itself – the filling was very tasty and I particularly enjoyed the combination of the lamb, dill and pine nuts. The texture of the eggplant was also something I enjoyed as it was soft but still ‘meaty’ at the same time. The flavour of the filling had partially penetrated the eggplant which also contributed to its flavour.

The sauce was something I could have done without. It reminded me a bit of a hollandaise or bernaise-type sauce, but without the butter it was thin and I didn’t think it complemented the lamb very well. However I really enjoyed the lamb filling and will definitely be keeping this recipe in mind next time I’m making hamburgers!

With this recipe from Nero Wolfe’s Relapse being very nice, I am hopeful that other recipes from his Relapse are equally good. I realise a Relapse is a hit and miss affair so I hope the next Relapse recipe is another hit!

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