This stew from the AMA cookbook is vaguely similar to the Moroccan-style tagine recipe I posted earlier this year. Like that tagine, the recipe calls for vegetables and chickpeas and sweet spices like cinnamon and ginger, but unlike the tagine recipe the ingredient list isn’t a mile long. And yes, I did notice that the recipe calls for eggplant. I decided to step outside my comfort zone, as well as the season.
- 1 medium eggplant, about 1 pound
- 1 tsp. salt (I think I used 1/2 tsp.)
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 7 oz.)
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 Tbs. ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground coriander seed
- 1 tsp. powdered ginger
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes with juice [I used 680g very finely crushed]
- 2 cans (19 ounces each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 4 cups cooked chickpeas [I used 650g]
- 2 tsp. honey
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- Cut off the eggplant’s cap and stem, but do not peel it. Cut it into rough 3/4-inch cubes, place them in a colander, and toss with the salt. Set aside for 20 minutes to draine. Rinse well under cold water and pat dry on several layers of paper towels. [I instead used the cook's illustrated method of cooking the eggplant on paper towels in the microwave until it starts to collapse and dry out.]
- Heat the oil in a very large skillet or dutch oven. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the red pepper and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the cumin, cinnamon, coriander, ginger, and cayenne and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in the tomatoes, eggplant, and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.
- Add the chickpeas and the honey, and simmer, uncovered, over medium heat until the eggplant is tender and the flavors blend, about 20 minutes longer . Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.
Makes 6 servings, about 313 calories per serving.
I liked this stew. It’s not as complex tasting as the tagine, and I do think it would benefit from the addition of a little dried fruit and citrus peels. But even without the additional complexity I enjoyed it The peppers and onions kind of cook away into the sauce, and so you’re basically left with a lot of chickpeas and some chunks of eggplant floating in a sweet-spiced tomato sauce. I didn’t love the eggplant, but it didn’t really bother me either. Derek and I ate the stew for dinner, and had enough left over for lunch the next day.