Eggplant in lamb and eggplant ragout*

I’ve never believed in salting your eggplant to extract the bitter juices.  I always think you just end up with salty eggplant.  If I use eggplant in a composed dish, I bake it first to break it down, and then just stir it into whatever I’m making. 

Lamb and Eggplant Ragout
(more than enough for two, not enough for four)

1 medium eggplant
2 t. vegetable oil
2 medium onions, sliced
8-10 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped, or 2 T. dried
2 T. dried oregano
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
8-12 ounces cooked lamb, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Crumbled feta cheese (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Cube the eggplant into ¾-inch cubes, and spread on an oiled cookie sheet in one layer. Bake until the cubes wilt and begin to brown, about 15-20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they’re well-browned, 15-20 minutes. Add the garlic, mint, and oregano and cook a few minutes more.

3. Add the cooked eggplant, tomatoes, and lamb. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the lamb begins to break down, an hour or so. Check periodically to make sure it’s not drying out; add water if it is. Add salt, pepper, and feta (if using); serve over rice or orzo.

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