Today, on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with host Terry MacLeod, you can bring March in like a lamb with this traditional Russian Lamb Shashlik dish served with Georgian eggplant with Pomegranate Walnuts.
The recipes are both quite versatile as the marinade or the paste can be used for a wide variety of dishes. Making pastes with herbs and nuts is very typical of foods from Georgia, Caucasus and Black Sea regions. In fact, I have often served the pomegranate walnut paste with lamb.
Beautiful Halal lamb can be purchased at Millad's Supermarket on Notre Dame. Try with fresh baked bread.
Russian Lamb Shashlik
1/2 lamb shoulder (2 lbs) (boned out and cubed or sliced)
2 medium onions, blended
6 cloves garlic, blended
4 bay leaves
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
juice of 1/2 lemon (2 tsp)
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp sea salt
Blend all but the lamb and place in a good seal-able bag. Place cubed or sliced lamb and make sure that it is all incorporated around the meat. Refrigerate for 1-3 days.
Skewer and grill, traditionally, over coals. Grill as you can. Let meat rest and serve with tomatoes, onions, flat bread, or Georgian pomegranate walnut eggplant.
Can also use marinade on chicken, beef or pork.
Georgian Eggplant Rolls with Garlic-Walnut Paste & Pomegranate (badrijani nigvzit)
2 large globe eggplants (or 6-8 medium-sized long eggplants)
2 cups walnut pieces (use almonds if allergies, tahini if nut allergies)
4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons ground fenugreek
2 teaspoons ground coriander
pinch of ground turmeric
1/2 cup each packed cilantro and parsley leaves (optional)
dash of red chile powder to taste
seeds of 1 pomegranate
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Use Pomegranate molasses (aka, syrup, dressing, etc.)
*can use baby eggplants, Japanese long, globe, etc.
Wash the eggplants, cut off the ends and slice into thin strips with skin still on. If you’re using large globe eggplants, cut each in half lengthwise, then again. Each slice should be about 1/4 inch thick (too thick and they won’t roast properly). Sprinkle with salt and let sit for half an hour to draw out the moisture from the eggplants.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the eggplants, brush with oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast about 15-20 minutes, flip, coat with more oil if necessary and continue roasting until the strips are nicely browned, slightly crispy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside, but not burnt. Be careful: the skins can burn easily and the eggplant can dry out. This step can also be done on a grill.
Meanwhile, grind the walnuts in a food processor. You want a coarse grind, but not mush. Then add remaining ingredients except pomegranate seeds and purée. Some recipes also call for a teaspoon of ground marigold, but I didn’t have any. Add more water if necessary. You want a thick but spreadable paste that holds together.
Let the eggplant strips cool. Then spread a hearty tablespoon of walnut mixture onto each strip and roll snugly so each strip holds together with the paste inside. Place on a platter and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.