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Lebanese Rice With Lamb And Aubergines

Lebanese Rice with Lamb and Aubergine

Photography by William Lingwood

An authentic, delicatley spiced lebanese dish from the Mighty Spice Cookbook, this recipe is ideal for family dinners and dinner parties.

Serves 4

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

What You’ll Need:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 large aubergine, sliced lengthways into 5mm/1⁄4in-thick strips
  • 100g3(1⁄2oz or 2/3 cup) pine nuts
  • 300g (10 1⁄2oz) minced lamb
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 5cm/2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1⁄4 tsp ground allspice
  • 350g (12oz or 1  3⁄4 cups) basmati rice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

What To Do:

  1. Brush a little oil on both sides of the aubergine slices.  Heat a griddle pan over a high heat and when smoking, add the aubergines.  Griddle for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until tender and covered in lovely charred griddle lines.  Set aside.
  2. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat.  Add the pine nuts and gently toast, shaking the pan occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the pine nuts are golden brown.  Transfer the nuts to a plate and set aside.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, then add the lamb, onion, and garlic.  Fry for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the lamb has started to turn golden, stirring occasionally.  Add the tomatoes, cinnamon, and allspice; season with a good pinch of salt and pepper, and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes, or until the tomatoes have started to break down.
  4. Put the rice into a large bowl, cover with cold water and stir, and then set aside for 5 minutes to soak.  Tip the rice into a colander and give it a really good rinse under the cold tap, until the water coming out of the rice runs clear. This washes the starch out of the rice and ensures you get lovely, separated grains.
  5. Tip the washed rice into the frying pan and place over a medium heat.  Add the spiced lamb and stir in 600ml (21fl oz or 2 1⁄2 cups) freshly boiled water.  Bring to the boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is almost cooked but still has a little bite.  Scatter over half of the toasted pine nuts and mix everything together with a fork, fluffing the rice as you go.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.  Drizzle the bottom of an ovenproof dish with a little oil.  Arrange half of the charred aubergines across the bottom of the dish, spread all of the rice and lamb mixture on top, and then lay the other half of the aubergines on top of the rice.  Scatter over the remaining toasted pine nuts and drizzle over a little more oil.  Cover with tin foil and bake for 10 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Recipe from The Mighty Spice Cookbook by Johngregorysmith.com.

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