Monday, 14 January 2013

Paleo Parmigiana (Beef Aubergine Layers)

Parmigiana is a hearty Italian dish made with layers of fried aubergines, beef mince and parmesan cheese.  This paleo version does away with the cheese.  It does not lack in flavour though.  You’ll have to trust me on that. :D

The proportions I used made a big batch – freeze or eat for lunch the next day – perfect for lazy ladybirds and busy bees. I used:

800g mince beef
5 cloves of garlic, minced
3 dried bay leaves
2 star anise
5 big heaped tbsp of tomato puree / paste
Salt and pepper to taste
Bit of stock / water

3 large aubergines sliced (1 cm thickness)
Bit of salt
Olive oil

Note: you can salt the aubergine slices before proceeding, to extract moisture prior to frying.

1. Brown the meat in a pan. Make sure to really break the mince pieces.  I do this until the meat is browned well and frying in its own fat.  This deepens the beef flavour.
2. Make space in the pan and fry the garlic in the rendered fat until fragrant and a tad brown. Mix.
3. In go the bay leaves, star anise, tomato puree, and maybe a cup of stock or water. Season.  Add some chilli or cayenne pepper if you prefer.
4. Leave to simmer for about 30 minutes.

5. Pat the aubergine slices dry. Sprinkle with olive oil.
6. Cook them in a hot frying pan or a griddle pan until soft or a little bit charred on both sides.  Add some more oil if needed.

7. Once done, spoon some meat at the bottom of a baking dish, cooked aubergine next. Layer and end with aubergines on top.
8. Sprinkle with olive oil (I used basil-infused oil) on top and grill on high for about 5 minutes.
9. Serve and enjoy.

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