These delicious lamb meatballs wrapped in aubergine & baked in a sauce are simple to put together, cook away when you’re up to something else & are a great addition to a large gathering. If you’ve read any of my other recipes, you won’t be that surprised to see pomegranate molasses making an appearance, although a similar amount of treacle makes a great substitution in the sauce.
Makes 20-24 parcels (enough for 8 as a main meal)
4 medium aubergines
600g lamb mince
1 large onion, finely diced
50g toasted pine nuts
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Small bunch parsley, finely chopped.
1 tbsp dried mint
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
For the sauce:
1 carton of tomato passata
1 tsp salt
2 tsp lemon juice
Chicken stock cube / ‘stock pot’
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses / treacle.
Preheat the oven to 180 °C / 160 °C fan / gas mark 4. Cut the aubergines lengthways into 0.5cm slices, brush with oil both sides & place on baking trays. Bake them for 15-25 minutes until golden & floppy (timing depends on how thin you actually cut the aubergines – you want them to remain flexible, not dry out). Allow to cool slightly so you can handle them. reduce the oven temperature to 160 °C / 140 °C fan / gas mark 3.
Put the remaining ingredients (except those for the sauce) in a large bowl, & mix well with your hands.
Place all the sauce ingredients into a small saucepan, bring to a gentle simmer, then take off the heat.
Take a 30 x 20 cm baking dish. Take a piece of the lamb mixture about the size of a golf ball, roll it into a fat sausage shape & then wrap a slice of aubergine around it & place in the baking dish. Continue to do this for the remaining mixture / aubergine slices, packing the finished parcels tightly together in rows in the baking tray (the picture probably explains the finished result fairly well).
Pour the sauce over the parcels, cover with foil & bake for 90 minutes, then take out the oven & leave to rest uncovered for 10 minutes.