This easy weeknight dish is based on one of my favorite recipes in Veganomicon, Tomato and Roasted Eggplant Stew with Chickpeas, which you can find here. Roasting eggplant, garlic, and red peppers gives that stew a delicious sweet and smoky flavor, but takes a fair amount of time, planning, and counter space.
Sometimes I need to make dinner after a long day of herding children, driving to meetings, and shoveling. By six o'clock, I don't want to follow directions anymore. I want to throw things into a bowl or pot, squish them between my fingers, and see what comes out. On nights like this, I can't go wrong with chickpeas, tomatoes, and eggplant. Veganomicon is in the back of my mind as I cook, but over time I've greatly simplified this stew and taken the seasoning in an Italian direction. The measurements I've provided are only a starting point; I prefer to sprinkle, stir, taste, and repeat until I've reached the perfect balance of sweet and salty.
Salting the eggplant removes its bitterness and makes it tender. If you're into planning ahead, you can salt and roast the eggplant the day before you make the stew. Serve this with polenta—it'll feel so fancy for a Wednesday.
Italian Roasted Eggplant Stew
adapted from Veganomicon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ cup white wine
28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper
Trim the stem off the eggplant. Slice the eggplant in half lenthwise, then slice into ½-thick half circles. Place slices in a mesh strainer and rub with kosher salt. Place strainer over a bowl and let sit for 20 minutes.
Heat oven to 400F. Rinse eggplant slices in cool water and pat dry. Toss lightly with olive oil and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, until edges begin to brown, then flip slices. Roast another 10-15 minutes, until slices are lightly browned, but not dried out. Remove eggplant from oven and set aside.
Warm olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté garlic 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add wine and simmer 1 minute. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, roasted eggplant, rosemary, thyme, and oregano.
Simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, until liquid is reduced by half. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add salt and pepper if desired.
Serves 4. Best served over polenta.