I finally picked the eggplants from my garden figuring a frost was on its way. I asked my friend Peter for a good eggplant recipe and he sent me this. Richard and I had it last night (I served it with brown rice) and it's delicious!
EGGPLANT AND LAMB AL FORNO
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds total), ends trimmed, cut into six 1/4-inch-thick rounds each
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/4 pounds ground lamb
1 twenty-eight-ounce can whole, peeled plum tomatoes, drained
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon dry breadcrumbs
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Salt eggplant well, arrange in colanders, and place weighted bowls on top. Let drain for 30 minutes. Rinse and dry.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon black pepper; cook until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Add oregano, cinnamon, cumin, and cayenne; cook 2 minutes more. Add lamb, and cook until it browns, about 5 minutes. Drain fat from pan. Break up tomatoes, and add to pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until sauce starts to thicken, about 8 minutes.
3. Place 4 eggplant slices in an 8-inch square baking pan, and top with a third of the sauce. Repeat twice, making four three-layer stacks. Combine 1 teaspoon parsley and breadcrumbs; sprinkle over the top.
4. Cover with foil, and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more. Sprinkle with remaining parsley; serve hot.