Ali Nazik (Eggplant Purée with Lamb & Yogurt)

Serves 6- 8 as a side

2 small-medium eggplants
juice of 1 lemon
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly crushed
300g lamb mince
250g European-style yogurt
olive oil for drizzling
1/4 chopped flat-leafed parsley
1/2 teaspoon sumac

Place the eggplants directly over the flame of a gas burner or barbecue, or under a preheated frill, turning regularly, until completely blackened and soft.  Place in a bowl, cover with lid or plastic wrap and leave to sweat for 10 minutes.

Peel off and discard as much of the blackened skin as you can.  Cut the stalks off the eggplant, chop the flesh and place in a food processor with the lemon juice, garlic, tahini and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.  Process until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and spread over a serving dish.

Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry the cumin for 1 minute then add the lamb and fry until browned.  Season with salt and spoon on top of the eggplant purée.  Top with spoonfuls of yogurt, drizzle with olive oil the scatter parsley and sumac over.  Serve with warmed flatbreads.

The Culinary Chase's Note:  I've made baba ghanoush many times but never with a meat topping.  Needless to say when I presented this to my family, it was greeted with hungry mouths!  Enjoy!