Yesterday I was feeling the need for something warm, filling, and different. I saw the recipe for a similar eggplant parmesan au gratin, and I knew I wanted to do something similar. So what goes great with eggplant? Lamb. I had never cooked it on my own before, and I was very nervous for how it would come out. Luckily, everything turned out perfectly, and it was a great addition to this hearty meal! I also had some swiss chard sitting in my fridge, and I remembered this great risotto I made a while back that had greens and small white beans in it, so instead of doing it that way, I ditched the rice and transformed it into a creamy side!
lamb shanks (or a cut you feel comfortable with)
rosemary & thyme (fresh)
salt & pepper
wine (normally I would recommend a hearty red wine but all I had when I was making this was a dry white wine and it turned out ok!)
Eggplant Parmesan Bake
one medium sized eggplant
roma or heirloom tomatos (i used a mix of both)
salt & pepper
fresh grated parmesan (romano will work as well)
Creamy Swiss Chard & Cannellini Beans
one can of cannellini beans, drained
a few sliced of pancetta, chopped (optional)
salt & pepper
half a container of creme fraiche
Throw all of the ingredient for the lamb in a gallon sized zipper bag and let it marinade for a few hours. When it is finished marinading, pour the contents of the bag into a baking pan, and add some more fresh herbs on top of the shanks. For medium rare, you will want the lamb to be anywhere from 130 degrees to 140 degrees internally. I baked mine at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, with an addition 10 minutes to rest. The size of the shanks will affect the cooking times, so I would check the temperature after 30 minutes to check where the meat is at.
Meanwhile, peel the eggplant and cut in half lengthwise so you can cut half moon shaped slices. Once the eggplant is sliced, place it on a sheet of parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil and put it in the oven with the lamb for a few minutes to start the cooking process. While the eggplant is roasting, slice up your tomatoes and mozzarella. When the eggplant is mostly cooked, take it out of the oven and start layering in an au gratin pan. I layered the eggplant, then the tomatoes, bread crumbs, and parmesan, and repeated. Then I added the mozzarella on top, along with breadcrumbs that I mixed a touch of olive oil and some more parmesan. When there is about 5 minutes of cooking time left on your lamb, put this back in the oven and allow to bake until the lamb is finished resting, for a total of about 15-20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
Last but not least are the creamy swiss chard and beans. This takes the least amount of time so do this as the end when the eggplant is about half way finished baking, add your chopped pancetta to a sauce pan and brown. Add the beans, salt, pepper, rosemary, and creme fraiche to the pan and let cook down to a rich a creamy sauce. Add the swiss chard last- it just needs to soften up a bit. This will only take 2 or 3 minutes.
Once everything is finished, you can plate and enjoy!