Crispy Harissa Pork with Whole Roasted Aubergine

Aubergines are one of my favourite vegetables, as there are so many exciting ways of cooking with them. My favourite way to cook them is by far the simplest: roasted whole. It requires minimal effort but maximum yield, and pairs well with so many things. My favourite way of eating them is to split them open and add a sprinkle of salt and a spoon of tahini and yogurt.

To this recipe I have added crispy pork mince and red onions, and a sticky spring onion and coriander rice. What you decide to include or add is up to you, but these are flavour combinations I personally think work well. But use it as an opportunity to try some new combinations of spices, as well as to use up any leftover vegetables or herbs in your fridge! If you’d prefer a vegetarian option, try slices of halloumi or pieces of tofu – with a little squeeze of honey these will caramelise nicely and get a nice golden colour.

Be sure to check how long your rice takes to cook before cooking everything – the rice I use takes about 20 minutes, but if yours takes longer you will need to adjust at what point you start cooking it.

Crispy Harissa Pork with Whole Roasted Aubergine

This recipe takes approximately one hour, and serves two.

You will need:

  • Two aubergines, approximately 200g each
  • 250g pork mince (I use 5% fat)
  • Two teaspoons of harissa paste (Rose harissa also works well)
  • One red onion
  • One chilli (red or green, I use a mixture of both)
  • Two spring onions
  • Handful of fresh coriander
  • Sticky rice (I use about 60g uncooked per person)
  • Two tablespoons of natural yogurt
  • One tablespoon of tahini
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6/400°F).

Place your two aubergines on a baking tray and prick with a fork (make sure you do this or your aubergines will explode in the oven!). Place in the oven and roast for 45-60 minutes. At the end of roasting, they should be soft all the way through when you prick with a knife.

Whilst the aubergines are roasting, prepare your other ingredients: slice the red onion, chop the chilli, slice the spring onions, and roughly chop the coriander. You can also use this time to make the tahini yogurt: combine the natural yogurt with the tahini, and season with the salt and lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, then set to one side.

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the pork mince and fry for around 10 minutes until beginning to brown and crisp up. At this point, add the harissa paste, red onion, chilli, and a pinch of salt, and fry for a further 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook your rice according to packet instructions. I normally add a splash of coconut milk to the boiling water as this adds a little more flavour to the rice, but this is totally up to you. Once cooked, drain and stir in the spring onion and coriander.

By this time, the pork mixture should be nicely browned, with the onions having softened slightly, and the aubergines should be lovely and tender. Split the aubergines down their length and serve with a spoon of the tahini yogurt, a helping of rice, and top with the crispy pork. I also like to sprinkle this with toasted black and white sesame seeds and a squeeze of sriracha sauce.

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