Harissa is a red pepper paste from North Africa that is trendy right now but has been around for a very long time. Mixing it with eggplant and lamb is a natural combination, but the real fun in this recipe comes from the whipped cucumber feta topping.
From Stuffed, by Dan Whalen
- Harissa (or ¼ cup [44 g] store-bought)
- 1 red bell pepper
- 25 dried arbol chiles
- ¼ Teaspoon coriander
- ½ Teaspoon caraway
- 3 cloves garlic
- ¼ Teaspoon oregano
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4 small (preferred) or 2 large eggplants
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1½ Pound (680 g) ground lamb
- ¼ Cup (16 g) chopped parsley
- Whipped Cucumber Feta
- 8 Ounces (225 g) feta
- 2 Ounces (56 g) cream cheese
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
- ⅓ cup (40 g) chopped cucumber
Remove the stems from the chiles, and if you don’t like it hot, remove the seeds too. This recipe is VERY hot, so unless you really like heat, consider removing half of the seeds to make it somewhat bearable. Even if you remove all of the seeds it will still be a solid 4 on the heat scale. Pour boiling water over the chiles to just barely cover them and allow them to sit for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425˚F (220˚C, or gas mark 7). Split the eggplants in half the long way. Generously rub with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the eggplants skin side down for about 30 minutes, until browned. Toss that red pepper into the oven and let it roast for the first 10 minutes with the eggplant. Remove the eggplant from the oven and turn it down to 375˚F (190˚C, or gas mark 5). Using a sharp spoon, make a cavern in the eggplants to put the filling, but you don’t need to remove a ton. Roughly chop the removed eggplant.
Strain the chiles and add them to a food processor. Peel and seed the roasted red pepper. Add the pepper and rest of the harissa ingredients to the food processor and blend until smooth.
In a hot pan with a little olive oil, sear the lamb to brown. Add the harissa paste and the eggplant insides and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, until well combined. Remove from the heat and stir in parsley.
Spoon the lamb mixture into the eggplants, leaving any excess fat behind. Place on a baking sheet and roast the eggplants for 30 minutes.
Add the feta and cream cheese to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and let it whip for 1 minute. Taste and add salt if needed. Serve the feta on the side with the eggplants.