Tian de légumes et d'agneau haché

Technically, a tian is a casserole that is cooked in a shallow earthenware baking dish by the same name. But  nowadays it usually refers to some kind of layered vegetable dish that is gratinéed (browned on top) in the oven. It is basically a Provençal style gratin. This particular one was inspired by a side dish that I had at a restaurant in Toulouse/France.

  • Preparation time: 45 minutes
  • Baking time: 30 minutes


  • 1 eggplant (F: aubergine), thinly sliced
  • 1 zucchini (F: courgette), thinly sliced
  • 1 leek (F: poireau), thinly sliced
  • Sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • Minced garlic
  • Sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese (never buy pre-grated - it is an inferior product)
  • Spinach leaves
  • Lean ground lamb - amount: not a lot, compared to the spinach and other vegetables
  • Ground nutmeg
  • 2 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • Pesto sauce
  • Grilled red peppers (F: poivrons rouges grillés)
  • Butter
  • Cashews, finely chopped , enough to line each serving ramekin
  • By the way, a "cashew" is not a nut: it is the single, kidney-shaped seed of a cashew apple. The seeds are shelled and roasted. The raw seeds are toxic.


A cashew apple with the seed pod attached, and roasted cashews


  • Frying pan
  • 1 ramekin for each person


  • Pre-heat the oven to 175 °C (350 °F)
  • Steam or pan-fry the sliced vegetables
  • Mix in some minced garlic, pinch of nutmeg, and the chopped mint leaf
  • Steam or blanche the spinach leaves; drain very well (squeeze out water with paper towels)
  • Mix the spinach with the ground lamb, add the sun-dried tomatoes
  • melt some butter, and mix in the chopped cashews until you have a thick pasty substance that you can line ramekins with
  • Line all ramekins with the cashew mix (press the cashew mix onto the bottom and sides of the ramekins)
  • Line the cashew-covered inside of the ramekins with layers of the sliced vegetables
  • Stuff the ramekins tightly with spinach/lamb mix
  • Bake the ramekins for 30 minutes
  • Towards the end of the baking time, cover each ramekin with grated cheese, and broil until the cheese is melted and golden brown
  • Empty one ramekin upside down on each dinner plate
  • Stick sprig of fresh thyme into each tian
  • Put generous dab of pesto around each tian
  • Put several slices of grilled red pepper around each tian

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