Eggplant and Lamb al Forno Recipe

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium eggplants, ends trimmed, cut into six 1/4-inch-thick rounds each
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground lamb
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole, peeled plum tomatoes, drained
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dry breadcrumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Salt eggplant well, arrange in colanders, and place weighted bowls on top. Let drain for 30 minutes. Rinse and dry.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon black pepper; cook until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Add oregano, cinnamon, cumin, and cayenne; cook 2 minutes more. Add lamb, and cook until it browns, about 5 minutes. Drain fat from pan. Break up tomatoes, and add to pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until sauce starts to thicken, about 8 minutes.
  3. Place 4 eggplant slices in an 8-inch square baking pan, and top with a third of the sauce. Repeat twice, making four three-layer stacks. Combine 1 teaspoon parsley and breadcrumbs; sprinkle over the top.
  4. Cover with foil, and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more. Sprinkle with remaining parsley; serve hot.