After some easy ingredient prep that can all be happening at the same time, this Italian Eggplant Potato Beef Casserole layered into a casserole and brought to a hot bubbly finish in the oven makes a comforting one-dish meal on a cold night.
This is a simple sidestep from our equally delicious Persian Eggplant Potato Lamb Casserole. The three easy alterations to move from Persia to Italy are to swap cumin for oregano, lamb for beef, and add some Mozzarella. Otherwise, the dishes are identical.
There’s a nice balance among the alternating layers of roasted eggplant and red potato rounds. What pulls it together is a straightforward sauce made of sautéed onion and garlic, canned tomato, and a little oregano. However, we often opt for a big jar of marinara sauce. That works great and makes the dish even easier.
While the sliced eggplant roasts in 425F oven and the potatoes boil on the stove, sauté the ground beef (or bison) in a skillet. Slide the beef into a bowl, and saute the onion in the same pan, then add the garlic for a few minutes, then the oregano and tomato. Add the beef back to the pan and stir together. Now slice the whole potatoes into rounds and the ingredients are ready to layer cover and heat through.
We top with mozzarella near the end of heating. Continue heating uncovered while the cheese melts and spreads into creamy clouds. Italian Eggplant Potato Beef Casserole will be a great addition to your stable of cold weather, one-dish dinners.
- 2-3 eggplant sliced into 1/2" thick rounds, or about 6 small Indian eggplant whole rounds
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound ground meat (beef, lamb, pork or even Italian sausage), sautéed and broken up with a wooded spoon
- 2-3 large or 3-4 medium red potatoes, boiled and sliced into rounds
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, diced or pressed
- 1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes (or a big jar (about 25 ounces) marinara sauce.
- 1 generous teaspoon oregano, or to taste
- 12 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced
- Grated pecorino or parmesan, to taste
Heat the oven to 425F. Lightly grease a half sheet, lay out the eggplant rounds, and drizzle with olive oil and Kosher salt. Cook until soft when pierced with a fork or knife, at least 30 minutes.
In a skillet cook the ground meat over medium heat, separating and chopping it up as it cooks with a spatula or wooden spoon. With a large spoon remove and discard meat liquid if it accumulates in excess.
Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water, and add Kosher salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and cook until a fork almost easily slides into the potato. Avoid overcooking the potatoes as they'll get more heat as the finished casserole coalesces in the hot oven.
In a saucepan sauté the onion and garlic in oil over medium heat. Give the onion a few minutes head start before adding the garlic. Don't let the mixture burn and reduce heat as necessary to soften both. Add the tomato to combine and heat through. Stir in the oregano.
Grease a casserole with a little spray oil and start the layering process. Alternate the components as you like. Cover and cook in a 375F oven until bubbling and heated through, about 30 minutes. Top with plenty of mozzarella during the last 10 minutes, uncovered.
To make assembly even easier, just grab a jar of your favorite marinara sauce and use that instead of the tomatoes and garlic. I also like to add sauteed mushrooms (cook them with the onion). And red and green bell pepper is nice too. Cook that with the onion as well. As you keep adding ingredients, you might need a little more red sauce. The cheese is up to you. Mootz is creamy and nice, but you could just use parm if that's all you have around.