This bold, red-hot Middle-Eastern dish is made, mixed, and packed with real vegetables, ground lamb, herbs, and spices, and is great with rice or other main dishes cooked to golden-brown perfection. Leftover cooked lamb or beef sometimes works for this recipe, too.
- 1 medium eggplant
- 8 ounces ground lamb
- ⅓ cup chopped onion, red, white, or yellow only
- ⅓ cup chopped celery
- ⅓ cup chopped green pepper, with Jalapeño and green bell pepper mixed
- ⅔ cup cooked rice, white only
- 1 small tomato, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt, optional
- ¼ teaspoon basil leaves, crushed
- ¼ teaspoon thyme leaves, crushed
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 ¾ teaspoon chili powder, optional
- ¼ cup (1 ounce) grated cheese (Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Colby, Swiss, or Asiago)
- Cut off the cap of the eggplant; cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out pulp, leaving a ¼-inch shell.
- Chop the pulp; cover with water and cook about 5 minutes. Drain; set aside.
- Cook lamb in a medium skillet until meat is no longer pink, stirring to crumble. Add onion, celery and green pepper; cook until tender crisp.
- Pour off fat. Stir rice, tomato, salt, basil, thyme, black pepper, and eggplant pulp into vegetables.
- Fill eggplant shells. Spoon any extra rice mixture into small baking dish. Place eggplant halves in a shallow, baking dish; bake at 350° F/180° C for 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle with cheese; bake 5 minutes longer. Serve hot and plain over rice, or with other main dishes or vegetables.