Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Easier than it Tastes: Italian Roasted Eggplant Stew

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 medium eggplant (about 1 pound)
kosher salt
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
sea salt
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.

13 comments:

  1. I love eggplant and this stew looks great--the chickpeas must add good texture!

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  2. Thank for the post, I'm in need of some new quick recipes!

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  3. That is definitely on my list now! I have canned chickpeas around and was eyeing the aubergines in the store today. They'll be mine tomorrow :)

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  4. That looks really yummy. I wish I liked eggplant!

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  5. This looks so easy and healthy! Also, it will give me an excuse to figure out how one makes polenta...

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  6. That looks like a simple, delicious dish, probably great in the summertime too! I thought that was couscous at first, it would prob. be good with that... and I didn't know you wrote a house blog too! It's coming along nicely, what a fun project!

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  7. Ooh yum! I could even have that on the ACT. And I love me some roasted eggplant.

    On the raw almond butter: I found the $20 a jar cost-prohibitive too. So I never bought it until I realized that though my Whole Foods was charging nearly $20 for an organic jar, the conventional raw almond butter was $8.99. For the same amount! That's a $10 savings. I like to buy organic when I can but for that much of a savings, I've been sticking with conventional. You should check your Whole Foods to see if they have the Maranatha brand "non-organic" raw almond butter. :-) So worth it!

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  8. Loving everything about this- Lots of veggies [which are roasted- my favorite preparation], plus chickpeas? Yes please! Bookmarking the recipe right now. :)

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  9. Are you excited for the Super Bowl? Can't wait to see what you cook up for the game- I am having a hard time wrapping my head around football food that doesn't involve cheese. :)

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  10. Oh, Yum! I'm a BIG fan of eggplants! That's exactly how I cook my food, I don't like to follow directions; I just sprinkle, stir, taste and repeat until I'm happy with it. I really love this recipe; it sounds simple and all the ingredients are my favorite foods. Can't wait to give it a try, Thanks Mary!

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  11. That looks great! I love the idea of an easy weeknight meal.

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  12. Thought of you when I saw these- so cute and I'm sure you could whip them out in minutes!

    http://www.designspongeonline.com/2010/01/we-like-it-wild-knitted-by-choo.html

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