Monday, October 26, 2009

Quasi-Persian Eggplant Stew

Ever since reading my friend Bazu's lovely post about her grandmother, I've had Persian food on my mind. This is a cuisine with which I'm not very familiar apart from a few memorable restaurant experiences; while it shares some elements with my father's Greek heritage (both feel the eggplant love in a big way), there's a certain sweet-smoky-spicy-sour-something that really sets it apart.

Today's recipe came about on a rainy Saturday when our refrigerator had some eggplants burning a hole in its metaphorical pocket; I searched around a bit online, and what resulted was a sort of mash-up of various recipes incorporating the ingredients on hand. So while I make no claims to authenticity, I will say that this was pretty damned good, and it definitely hit the rainy-night-at-home spot, helped along by a pomegranate martini and a showing of The Letter on TMC.

Quasi-Persian Eggplant Stew
~ 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
~ 2 cups onion, chopped
~ 2 tbsp. minced garlic, minced
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, dill, parsley, cumin
~ 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
~ 1/4 tsp. each: nutmeg, cayenne pepper
~ 2 tsp. brown sugar
~ 2 small eggplants, cubed (about 6 cups)
~ 3 cups mushrooms, sliced
~ 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
~ 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
~ Juice of 1 lemon
~ 1 tsp. Liquid Smoke
~ 6 tbsp. tomato paste
~ 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened soy milk
~1 cup toasted chopped walnuts (5-7 minutes on a baking sheet in a 300 degree oven should do it)

~ In a large, deep pot, heat the olive oil and saute the onion 5 minutes over medium-high, until glassy.
~ Stir in the garlic and dry seasonings. Stir to combine and cook another few minutes.
~ Add the eggplant, stir to coat, lower heat to medium and cook 5-7 minutes, until the eggplant begins to soften.
~ Add the mushrooms and cook 5-10 minutes more.
~ Stir in the tomatoes, broth, lemon juice, liquid smoke and tomato paste. Mix thoroughly, raise heat to high and bring briefly to a boil, then cover and turn to low.
~ Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
~ Add the soy milk and toasted walnuts, stir to combine and remove from heat.
~ Serve hot with rice or couscous, and maybe some garlicky greens on the side.

1 comment:

  1. That sounds so good! I am all about feeling the eggplant love... and, er, pomegranate martinis too, please!