As any fan of Yotam Ottolenghi's previous book, Plenty, knows, the man is an expert when it comes to eggplant. In his and his partner Sami Tamimi's new book Jerusalem: A Cookbook, there are copious recipes for eggplant—stuffed, puréed, roasted, baked, and everything in between. In their Stuffed Eggplant with Lamb and Pine Nuts, they fill the silky, humble nightshade with a warmly spiced blend of gamey ground lamb, sweet onions, and a smattering of pine nuts. But instead of roasting the eggplants separately before topping with the mixture, Ottolenghi and Tamimi roast the whole shebang tightly covered in the oven, basting the eggplants with a tangy tamarind and cinnamon sauce to meld the elements into one rich and comforting dish.
Why I picked this recipe: Silky roasted eggplant plus rich, savory lamb equals a big win in my book.
What worked: The warm spices match perfectly to gamey ground lamb, and the pine nuts offer a welcome crunchy pop.
What didn't: My eggplants came out a little watery. Next time I'd score them before the initial roast to encourage more of their liquid to evaporate.
Suggested tweaks: You could easily swap in ground beef, turkey, or chicken (sticking with fattier blends) for the lamb if you'd like. I'd stay away from pork though.