Lamb Patties Braised with Eggplant, Peppers, and Tomatoes

Lamb Patties Braised with Eggplant, Peppers, and Tomatoes


For the Lamb Patties:
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup water
1 and 1/4 pounds ground lamb
1/2 cup finely grated pecorino cheese
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Eggplant Mixture:
One large eggplant (1 to 1 and 1/4 pounds), unpeeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Coarse kosher salt
1 large red bell pepper, halved, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 and 1/3 cups dry white wine
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chopped seeded peeled red heirloom tomatoes
2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram

For the Polenta:
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)
Grated pecorino cheese Directions: Prepare the Lamb Patties:
Combine breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup water in small bowl.

Soak 5 minutes.

Squeeze all water from crumbs.

Place crumbs in large bowl.

Add lamb and remaining ingredients; mix gently to combine.

Shape into 12 oval patties, each about 2 and 1/2 inches long and 3/4 inch thick.

Prepare the Eggplant Mixture:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine cubed eggplant and 4 tablespoons olive oil in large bowl and toss to coat.

Spread eggplant out on rimmed baking sheet; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper.

Bake 12 minutes.

Turn eggplant over and bake until soft, about 12 minutes longer.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large deep skillet over medium-high heat.

Add lamb patties and sauté until brown, about 3 minutes per side.

Transfer lamb patties to plate.

Add bell pepper strips to drippings in skillet; sauté until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes.

Transfer bell pepper to plate with lamb.

Reduce heat to medium.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and chopped onion to same skillet.

Cover and cook until onion is soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Add wine and garlic.

Cook, scraping up browned bits, until wine is reduced to glaze, about 7 minutes.

Return lamb and bell pepper to skillet; add eggplant, tomatoes, and marjoram.

Reduce heat to medium-low.

Cover and simmer until lamb is cooked through and vegetables are tender, about 12 minutes. If sauce is thin, simmer uncovered until thickened to desired consistency.

Season sauce to taste with coarse salt and pepper.

Prepare the Polenta:
Bring 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to boil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Gradually whisk in polenta.

Reduce heat to medium-low.

Simmer until polenta is very thick, whisking often, about 20 minutes.

Spoon polenta into shallow bowls.

Top with lamb and vegetables.

Sprinkle with pecorino cheese. Serves 6.

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