Makes 6 servings
2 large eggplants (lower density eggplants tend to be less bitter)
3 lbs, leg of lamb, bone-in (or 3 lbs, chicken breast)
1 can, chickpeas
3 tomatoes on the vine, medium-sized
1 white onion, medium-sized
3 cups, white medium-grain rice
Spices: salt, pepper, allspice, ground cinnamon, ground cardamom.
Non-stick stock pot, 6 quartz
Flat stainless tray (of a wider diameter than your pot)
1. Peel and slice eggplant into thick wedges. Lay them out on a tray and sprinkle with salt.
- If the sun is out, put the tray out for one hour. Dehydrating the eggplant wedges minimizes their absorption of oil when it comes time to fry them)
2. Break down meat into fist-sized chunks, then sprinkle a half teaspoon of each of the five spices on the meat.
3. Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil to your stock pot. apply high heat, and then add meat to the pot.
4. Turn the meat chunks over after 1 minute and add diced white onion. Lower heat to medium after 3 minutes and cover with lid. After 10 minutes add boiling water to cover the meat. Leave for 1 to 1.5 hours, until tender.
5. Next, deep fry eggplant wedges in vegetable oil. Once they're browned on both sides, place back on paper towel-covered tray.
6. Slice tomatoes into half-inch slices.
7. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the bottom of your pot. Cover the base of the pot with tomatoes.
8. Next, add a layer of (washed) chickpeas. And then a layer of fried eggplant. And then layer on the meat (save the broth)
9. Rinse rice three times, then cover in water. Let soak for 10-15 minutes.
10. Drain rice, then add half teaspoon of each spice to the rice with the exception of salt which should be 1.5 teaspoons.
11. Add rice to pot, spreading evenly such that the surface is flat.
12. Add the boiling meat broth slowly to your pot until your pot is covered by half an inch. Top off with hot water if necessary.
13. Cover the pot and let boil on high heat for 3 minutes. Then lower the heat to medium for 5 minutes, then low heat for another 10 minutes.
14. Heat four tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pan, and then pour evenly over the top of the casserole.
15. Turn off the heat and let stand for 3 minutes. This allows the casserole to solidify.
16. Last step: cover the pot with tray, and with a secure grasp of the pot and tray flip them together in one confident motion. Congrats: flipping your casserole makes it maqlouba, Arabic for "upside down".
17. Serve with Greek yogurt and shepherd salad.