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3 eggplants, cubed
3 pounds boneless lamb, cubed
½ cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, grated
1 (15 oz can) tomatoes, pureed
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and black pepper to taste
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups water
Fresh mint for garnish
Preheat the oven to 425 °F, 220 °C.
Place the eggplant cubes onto a baking tray and sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons of salt. Toss to coat and place in a colander to drain for 30-60 minutes. They will release their bitter juices. Discard the liquid and pat dry with paper towels.
Place the eggplant onto a baking tray in an even layer and drizzle ¼ cup to ¾ cup olive oil over the pieces and toss to coat.
Roast for 15 minutes then increase the heat to 475°F, 250 °C and bake 15 minutes longer. Turn the broiler element on and let them become golden for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Place a pot over medium-high heat and add ¼ cup olive oil and half of the lamb chunks. Season with salt and pepper and brown on both sides for 5 minutes per side. Transfer the browned lamb pieces to a plate and set aside.
Add the onions to the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until soft and golden. About 6-8 minutes.
Add the grated garlic and warm through for 30 seconds. Place the lamb back into the pan along with all of the remaining ingredients except for the mint and the eggplant.
Bring to a boil, cover the pot with the lid and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 1 and ½ to 2 hours or until the sauce has thickened and the lamb is soft. Stir often so to prevent the stew from burning. If the liquid evaporates too soon add some more water halfway through.
Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Add the roasted eggplant pieces to the stew and toss gently.
Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes so that the flavors can marry.
Garnish with chopped fresh mint and serve with some toasted bread, rice, or pasta. Enjoy!
Notes: This stew can be made a day ahead and the eggplant can be added the day of serving. The eggplant can be substituted for zucchini. If using zucchini, just roast it seasoned with salt, pepper, and ¼ cup of olive oil. There is no need to salt it beforehand.
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