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Lamb & Eggplant in Spicy Tomato Sauce

April 28, 2016

Lamb & Eggplant in Spicy Tomato Sauce
Paula Nemzek for KCTS 9 Cooks

This recipe is a bit time-consuming, but you can make the savory meatballs ahead of time and freeze for a quick meal later.

Serves 4

 Eggplant & Spicy Tomato Sauce

  • 1 large or 2 small eggplants, cut in cubes
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed, or to taste
  • 21/2 cups your favorite marinara sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock (optional, as needed)

Lamb Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground lamb (or use ground beef)
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs or panko
  • 1 large egg
  • 11/2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, julienned, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese for garnish (optional)


For the sauce, combine eggplant, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir about five minutes, until eggplant begins to soften.

Mix in diced onion and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium; cook and stir until onion softens, four minutes. Stir in chicken broth and marinara sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce mixture thickens to the consistency you want, about 30 minutes. Add chicken broth as needed if mixture becomes too thick.

While the sauce cooks, prepare the meatballs. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together bread crumbs, egg and yogurt until mixture becomes cohesive.

Mix in onions, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, coriander and cayenne into the bread crumbs mixture. Crumble lamb into spice mixture and stir to combine.

Form lamb mixture into small meatballs, about 1 inch-ish in diameter, and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven ten to 15 minutes, until meatballs are browned on the outside, but still a little pink inside. Transfer hot meatballs into the sauce and stir in gently to combine. Simmer over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, giving flavors a chance to develop. Serve alone or over pasta, garnished with chopped fresh mint and a sprinkle of feta.