If your eggplant is skinny, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices; if it's fatter, first cut it in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into slices. Using 1 tablespoon oil, lightly brush eggplant slices on both sides. Set aside.Advertisement
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add meat, 1 teaspoon oregano, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat, until no longer pink, 4 to 8 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, remove meat and garlic from the pan, draining well, and transfer to a medium bowl. Add tomato puree (or crushed tomatoes), water and 1/3 cup yogurt to the meat mixture; stir to combine.
Pour off any liquid in the pan and wipe the pan clean. Heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion, the remaining garlic, the remaining 1 teaspoon oregano and the eggplant; cook, stirring, until the eggplant is softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add the meat mixture. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion and eggplant are soft, 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle cheese and mint (or parsley) on top and stir to combine. Serve topped with extra yogurt, if desired.
Tips: If you're using large, common globe eggplant, which can be more bitter than other varieties, salting beforehand can reduce bitterness. To salt: Place prepped eggplant in a large colander over a bowl and mix with 1 tablespoon salt. Top the eggplant with a plate weighted down with cans. Let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour before using. Rinse well with cold water, then dry with paper towels.
It's not always easy to find lean lamb, but it's easy to grind your own in a food processor. Choose a lean cut, such as leg or loin, trim any excess fat and cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Pulse in a food processor until uniformly ground, being careful not to overprocess. Or ask your butcher to grind a lean cut for you.
1 vegetable, 4 lean meat, 3 fat