“Casseroles are one-pot-wonders!” ~ Carla Hall
I love a good casserole, and this one will feed a crowd! This tasty casserole is a filling meal, especially with a side of vegetables or salad. It is gluten-free and low carb too for people who are following those ways of eating.
Any left-overs are terrific served with corn chips, and we’ve even used them in tacos and burritos, or as toasted sandwich fillings.
500g ground beef, two medium onions, 6 cloves of garlic, 1 red capsicum (bell pepper), 1 teaspoon Mexican Chilli powder (or to taste), 3 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 beef stock cube, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 1 tablespoon dark chocolate (optional but good! – see this recipe for why), 3 large eggplants (aubergines). salt, pepper, olive oil, grated cheese (minimum of one cup)
Vegetarian or vegan? Substitute 2 cans of brown lentils for the beef mince, and use a vegan cheese.
Slice the eggplant into rounds, about 1cm thick. Sprinkle lightly with salt and leave for an hour for them to sweat. Pat down with a clean dish towel to remove the moisture. This will remove any bitterness. If you are using small eggplant you can omit this step.
NB: While the eggplant is sitting, make your mince sauce.
Lightly brush or spray the eggplant slices with oil, and then grill or pan fry until browned on each side.
Set aside. Try not to eat too many. 🙂
Add a tablespoon of oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add in your chopped onions and cook until softened but not coloured. Then add the beef mince and brown well.
Now add in the spices and garlic, stir well and cook for a minute or two until fragrant. Then add the kidney beans, Capsicum, tomato and tomato paste. Stir well.
Simmer for twenty minutes and then add the dark chocolate, if using. Adjust seasoning to your taste. Set mince aside to cool slightly.
Assemble the Casserole
Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).
Grease a 20cm x 30 cm deep casserole or lasagne tray or use your own favourite dish. You could also make two smaller casseroles if you prefer!
Place a layer of eggplant along the bottom of the casserole and then cover with a layer of mince.
Place a second layer of eggplant and then more mince.
Top the casserole with the final eggplant slices and then spread grated cheese over the top.
Bake in a moderate oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until heated through and top nicely browned.
Serve with salad, vegetables, rice, bread or corn chips.