Moroccan aubergine meatballs with rice

meatballs

Fidget with the polpette-making instrument, Salmon with the measure and theorem. Perfect spheres:  Trota despairs – she just said they had to be more or less the same size; it didn’t need an exercise in geometry…

Moroccan aubergine meatballs with rice

 meatballs

This recipe is inspired by the Waitrose Moroccan lamb meatball & basmati bake, but has an Italian twist: these are not just any meatballs, oh no no. They are the aubergine meatball from Cucchiaio d’Argento.

This time there was a party in the cartoon kitchen so the Rowes cooked for six. For this labour-intensive dish our three heroes are pulling their strength together. Fidget and Salmon are on meatball duties while Trota is on supervisory. For the meatballs you will need: 2 small aubergines, 400g minced lamb, 2 eggs yolks, a pinch of dried oregano, a bunch of finely chopped flat leaf parsley, 30–50g breadcrumbs to bind, grated parmesan to taste and a pinch of grated nutmeg if you like it.

For the rice base you will need 300g basmati rice, 400g chopped tomatoes,  1 tbsp Harissa paste, 500ml stock, 1 cinnamon stick broken into two, more chopped parsley to decorate.

Start by roasting the whole aubergines in the oven (prick to avoid explosions), wrapped in foil, at 180°/gas 4 for 30–40min. Set aside to cool, then chop in half and, with a spoon, scoop out the flesh. Mix it with the other meatball ingredients, season and form the spheres.

Alongside, in an ovenproof dish mix the can of tomatoes, the Harissa paste and the stock; add the basmati rice and the cinnamon stick, stir well and start cooking in the oven at 200°/gas 6. You will cook the rice in the oven for the first 15-20min or so before adding the meatballs.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan (do it in two batches if necessary) put 4tbsp olive oil and fry the meatballs for a few minutes to get them brown on the outside.

When the rice has had 15-20min in the oven, take it out and stir well, then add the browned meatballs and cook for another 20min or so with the lid on (or covered in foil).

Give it another mix and put back in the oven to complete the cooking, for another 15–20min, this time uncovered until the rice is tender, the liquid absorbed and the meatballs are cooked through and slightly brown. Scatter the chopped parsley and serve.