Since I began this blog, I have been going back to old cookbooks and perusing recipes. Every now and then, I find an old treasure – something that was once well-loved and somehow was forgotten. Much to my surprise, in one of the old cookbooks, I found this brief, hand-written recipe for something that felt like finding an old friend. I had totally forgotten about this recipe which is rather amazing because we all loved it and when Frances’ husband was younger, I made this dish quite often since it was a favorite of his – all of ours really. It’s ridiculously simple to make and so rich in flavors. There might be prettier dishes, but few that could claim to be tastier. I served it with a crisp green salad and a good crusty bread. I wish you could smell just how wonderful this dish is!
Lamb and Eggplant Casserole
Yields: 6 servings
1/4 cup EVOO
2 pounds lamb stew meat (ask for the shoulder), cut into 2 inch cubes
1 pound of Italian sausage, cut into 1 inch thick slices (any kind will work – beef, pork, turkey – hot or sweet)
3 yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large eggplant, cubed (do NOT peel)
2 cups, full-bodied red wine, like a cabernet
4 small bay leaves (fresh or dried)
a good handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
28 oz. chopped San Marzano tomatoes or 1 large box of Pomi tomatoes
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large skillet (preferably cast iron), brown well the lamb cubes in batches in about 2 Tablespoons of the EVOO. When the lamb cubes are browned, place them in a Dutch Oven.
- In the same skillet, brown the Italian sausage. When nicely browned, add the sausage to the Dutch Oven with the lamb.
- Adding another tablespoon of EVOO, add the onions and sliced garlic and saute until softened and the pieces begin to get translucent. Transfer them to the Dutch Oven when ready.
- Add the final tablespoon of EVOO to the same skillet and add the cubed eggplant. On high heat, brown the cubes, which will have also become tender.
- Add them to the Dutch Oven. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the Dutch Oven and gently mix everything together.
- Cover the Dutch Oven and place in the oven to bake for 1.5 hours. This can be made a day ahead and reheated at 325 degrees F. for 30 minutes.