Gluten Free Eggplant, Lamb and Lean Pork Frikadeles in Eggplant and Tomato Sauce

Frikadeles are close cousins to meatballs, but they are not the same, either in ingredients, or in cooking method. Frikadeles are made from the mixture of different types of ground meat: beef, veal, pork or lamb can be used. Mince meat is combined with different vegetables without any bread, bread crumbs, grains or flours added. Frikadeles, contrary to meatballs, are not fried before sauces are added.

I have never used eggplant as vegetable ingredient to make frikadeles, but we enjoyed eggplant pasta sauce for many years now. I have decided to use fresh eggplant in mince meat mixture and replace sautéed leek and cabbage I often use as juicy fillers, to make the dish more easily digested and tolerated.

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This is a very easy dish to make. All cooking is done in one pot.  The dish is naturally gluten free, it contains quality proteins and plenty of vegetables. It is comfort food, loved by everyone, it has the flexibility to served with pasta, vegetables or mashed potatoes. Using lean pork and omitting frying, allows to cut fat content, without losing flavours.

Ingredients:

for frikadeles

  • 500g spring lamb mince
  • 500g lean pork mince
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 2 onions, finely chopped (fresh or sautéed)
  • 1 large or 2 medium eggplants, process to rice consistency in food processor
  • 1 deseeded chilli
  • 1 heaped table spoon of ground cumin
  • salt and black pepper for seasoning
  • 1 table spoon olive oil, optional if sautéed onions are used

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for eggplant and tomato sauce

  • 1 large eggplant, cut in long pieces
  • 2 onions, sliced in semi circles
  • 1 bottle (680ml) thick tomato cooking sauce/2 cans od diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of chicken stock or boiling water
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • pinch of fennel seeds
  • 2-3 table spoons olive oil

Preparation:

  • peel eggplant, cut it in chucks and use food processor to make it reach the size of rice grain
  • in a deep bowl thoroughly mix all ingredients for frikadeles together  (sauté chopped onions in olive oil until just translucent, if using cooked onions), put aside
  • I use my own garlic and chili paste in frikadeles mix instead of using fresh garlic and chili in eggplant sauce
  • heat olive oil in deep casserole dish, preferably non-stick, add fennel seeds, chopped chilli and garlic, cook 2-3 min
  • add sliced onions, cook 3-5 min
  • add eggplant, cut in long pieces, cook 2-3 min

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  • add thick tomato sauce or contents of 2 diced tomato cans, wait until it start to boil
  • add frikadeles, rolled to your preferred size

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  • simmer for 1 hour or even longer, the longer you cook tomato sauce, the deeper and more intense flavours develop, taste for seasoning and acidity: sometimes it is necessary to add 1-2 tea spoons of sugar (or honey) to balance too acidic tomato sauce
  • serve with gluten free pasta or steamed vegetables, cauliflower or broccoli are our favourites

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Tomato and eggplant sauce becomes quite thick with long cooking time, that is why I prefer to use non-stick casserole dish. I usually use 1 kg of mixed mince, but freeze half of made frikadeles, and make only half the portion of pasta sauce. There is not difference in taste when frozen frikadeles are used. Eggplant gives more flavour and better texture compared to zucchini, but you can use any vegetables to make frikadeles juicier. Sometimes I use the mix of grated zucchini and carrots. To make a complete meal to serve without any side dish, add washed, uncooked quinoa to meat and vegetable mix. In that case it would not be frikadeles, strictly speaking, but it does not really matter what is the name of the dish. It’s the taste that matters.

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