Roasted Eggplant StewPosted: December 5, 2011
The chill of a Chicago November is really something to be reckoned with; the cold here has claws. We’re going on three years in the Midwest and I haven’t acclimated at all. I’m beginning to think I’ll never get used to this. At least the frost motivates me to get in the kitchen, fire up the oven and heat the apartment with the steam of bubbling pots, the warmth of baking bread. This eggplant stew is a bit labor intensive, but it will warm you to the core.
Roasted Eggplant Stew
2 large eggplants
2 Tblsp unsalted butter
1 small onion, minced
2 small celery stalks, minced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp smoked paprika
Black pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
1-2 bay leaves
1-2 tsp sea salt
6-8 cups water or stock
1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
Start with two, large, firm eggplants peeled and cubed. Sprinkle with sea salt and olive oil and roast for 35-40mins at 400F. Sure, I could just stew the eggplant in a pot, but roasting beforehand imparts a deep, smoky flavor.
Next, mash the roasted eggplant to a fine pulp. This step isn’t necessary if you’re planning on using a hand blender. Since I don’t have one and I prefer to limit the electric appliances, I hand mash with a potato masher.
Now, in a 6quart pot, over medium heat, melt the butter until hot. Add the minced onions, celery and garlic. Cook until softened. Then add your spices, stock, and eggplant puree and sour cream/yogurt. Simmer for 15-20mins to allow the flavors to come together.
The cumin, garlic and cayenne give a wonderful warming quality. I prefer a spicy tingle to my stew and use the cayenne liberally.
Here’s to the long winter ahead. We can get through this!