10 Sep Gratin of Mediterranean Lamb and Vegetables

Substantial

Gratin of Mediterranean Lamb and Vegetables

10 September 2020

PREP. TIME: 30 MIN   -   COOK TIME: 30 MIN   -   SERVES: 4 - 6

The fried eggplant and zucchini, colourful capsicums and flavoursome tomato sauce combine to forgive the small portions of lamb.  Cook covered with cauliflower in a Bechamel sauce and a sprinkling of  breadcrumbs for a truly comforting dish.

Recipe Template

You can prepare the meat and vegetables in advance.  Just reheat them before assembling as a gratin.  

Serve with rice or bread, a Greek style yoghurt and a crunchy green salad when seeking or offering comfort and solace from or to the world.

See the variations below for a Gluten Free Version

ingredients for 4- 6 serves

1 large eggplant

1 large zucchini

1 brown onion

1 clove garlic

1/2 red capsicum

1/2 yellow capsicum

Olive oil

400g tin or fresh peeled tomatoes and their juices

500g fresh, coarsely ground lamb or diced leg of lamb 

Rosemary and thyme

Oregano

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cauliflower


Béchamel Sauce recipe - replacing 2 cups milk with 1 cup milk and 1 cup of cooking water from the pot that you cook the cauliflower in.

Add to this sauce:

 * A pinch of ground nutmeg

 * A pinch of cayenne pepper

 * 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Topping:

2 handfuls of coarsely ground or Panko bread crumbs.

75 g butter

equipment

Chopping board

Cook's Knife and paring knife.

Measuring cups and spoons

Cheese grater

Medium to large pot to cook the cauliflower in

Large deep saute pan

Wooden spoon

Colander

Glass or ceramic gratin dish - approx 3 - 4 litre capacity - large enough to hold all of the ingredients.

method

Step 1

Pre heat the oven to 180C.

Have ready a gratin or baking dish of 3 - 4 litre capacity.


Step 2 - Prepare the Meat and Vegetables

Unwrap the meat from any packaging and pat dry with paper kitchen towel.

Salt the meat with a dessertspoon of salt.

Set aside and keep at room temperature.


Wash the eggplant and cut into small dice.

Arrange these in a single layer on a tea towel and sprinkle with salt.  

Set aside while you prepare everything else


Remove the leaves from the cauliflower.

Cut or break the cauliflower into flowerets.

Rinse well.


Wash the zucchini and capsicum well and chop into large dice


Skin the tomatoes.


Rinse and dry the herbs


Peel and roughly chop the onion and garlic.


Step 3 - Cook the Cauliflower

Heat a generous amount of water in a large pot - big enough to hold all of the cauliflower.

Salt the boiling water with a tablespoon of salt.

Cook until tender when you insert the sharp end of a knife - about 10 minutes.

Reserve at least a cup of the cooking water.

Remove the caulfilower with a pair of tongs and drain and set aside.


Step 4 - Make the Béchamel Sauce

Place the reserved cooking water in a small pot.

Add a cup of milk to this and heat gently as you proceed with the sauce recipe on this link. 

If the sauce is lumpy, once you have added all of the liquid, push the mixture through a wire strainer into a bowl and reheat it in a clean pot, stirring all of the time with the wooden spoon.  You can do this a couple of times if necessary until you have a lovely, smooth, creamy sauce.

The sauce should be the consistency of pouring cream.  If it is too thick, add a little more drained cooking water - a tablespoon at a time.

Season the sauce with salt and pepper, nutmeg, cayenne and the grated cheese.

Check the seasoning again and add more salt or pepper if necessary.


Step 5 - Cook the Eggplant

Heat a large saute pan over moderate heat and cover the base with about 1cm deep of olive oil.

Pat the eggplant dry with kitchen towel.

When the oil is smoking, add a portion of the egg plant and cook until it softens.

Drain the cooked eggplant in a colander. 

Continue cooking the eggplant in batches, adding more oil to the pan if necessary.


Step 6 - Cook the Zucchini and Capsicum

Add the zucchini and cook until it begins to soften.

Remove and add to the colander with the eggplant.

Add the capsicum and cook until it begins to soften.

Remove and add to the eggplant and zucchini in the colander


Step 7 - Cook the meat

Add more oil to the pan if necessary and brown the meat in a couple of batches - set the cooked meat aside on a plate.


Step 8 - Make the Tomato Sauce

Add more oil to the pan if necessary and cook the onions until soft and transluscent.

Add the garlic and a sprig of thyme and oregano and cook until fragrant.

Pour in the tomatoes and their juices.  Break the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon.

Add the meat.

Simmer gently until the tomatoes are disintegrated.

Add the eggplant, zucchini and capsicum

Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Continue simmering until the meat is tender.


Step 5 - Assembly

Place the vegetable and meat mixture into the prepared gratin dish.  

Arrange the cauliflower flowerets over these.

Carefully pour the Béchamel Sauce over the cauliflower.  You do not need to use all of the sauce if you have too much.

Sprinkle over 1 - 2 handfuls of bread crumbs.

Dot with knobs of butter.


Step 6 - Bake the gratin

Bake in the preheated oven until the top is golden and bubbling on top - about 30 minutes.


Step 7 - To serve

Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary or oregano.

Place the gratin on a heat proof mat.

Serve at the table.


VARIATIONS:

     For a gluten free dish - omit the bechamel sauce and the bread crumbs.

Blanch the cauliflower florets as directed above.

Drain them well and toss in extra virgin olive oil.

Top the meat and vegetable mixture with the oil coated cauliflower and cook until it is golden.


       For a more substantial dish, add a tin of drained and rinsed chickpeas to the meat and vegetable mixture.

source

Recipe Adapted by Elizabeth Peddey.


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