This dish came about one day when I was determined to cook Daube de boeuf provençale (here's a typical recipe: http://frenchfood.about.com/od/maindishes/r/daubeprov.htm ). However, since the lamb that was on offer in the supermarket that day looked excellent, I came home with lamb rather than beef. I then decided to swap carrots and celery for eggplant and bell peppers, as these vegetables go very well with lamb. I also did quite a lot of other changes and adjustments, adding flavors that in my experience work with lamb, as well as working together. I thus ended up with an entirely different and completely new dish. —Tonemid
large eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
medium onions, thinly sliced
garlic cloves, crushed with a knife blade, then minced
strip orange zest, 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide
bottle unoaked red wine
lamb broth (or beef broth)
28 oz can tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
small/medium red bell peppers, chopped into thin strips
finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
finely minced fresh red chili pepper (serrano, for example)
small black olives (niçoise for example)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
freshly squeezed orange juice (ie the juice from 1/2-1 orange)
In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy-based pot, fry the eggplant in a little olive oil over high heat. Remove from pot and set aside.
In the same pot that was used for the eggplant, working in batches, brown the lamb on all sides. Transfer to a dish as each batch is finished. If there are now a lot of brown bits sticking to the bottom of the pan, boil it out with a little water, scraping well with a spatula to loosen all the sediments. Pour into a container, and reserve.
Still in the same pot, gently fry onions in olive oil until soft and translucent. Add bay leaves, garlic and thyme, and fry for a few seconds more. Add tomato paste, stir well, and throw in orange zest.
Pour in wine, and boil over a medium/high heat until almost reduced by half. Then add browned lamb, broth, canned tomatoes, and the reserved liquid from boiling out the pan (or a little water if you didn't deglaze). Simmer gently under a lid for one hour.
Add bell pepper . Simmer without the lid for one hour, or until the meat is almost tender. Add a splash of water if the stew is becoming too dry.
Stir in eggplant, rosemary and chopped chili, and cook until the meat is nearly starting to fall apart, half an hour or so.
Remove bay leaves and orange zest . Add olives, and simmer for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and add orange juice to taste. Bring back to the boil. Remove from heat, and sprinkle with parsley.