Because I do not learn from my mistakes (in more ways than I can count on my three nipples), I of course blundered into the "Tomato and Roasted Eggplant Stew with Chickpeas" recipe from Veganomicon without realizing that I didn't have one of the key spices for it at home. Go figure. And then, on top of that, one of the eggplants, whose resiliency in my fridge I was banking on in order to be able to make this, was all sorts of moldy when I took it out of the bag. It sorta looked like THIS dude from that horrible William Shatner movie, Kingdom of the Spiders:
So I ended up altering the recipe quite a bit. Which is why I post it here, without TOO much remorse. You won't be getting what you'd get out of the book, so if that's what you done want then you best get to getting the book! Get it?
Anyways, I didn't have tarragon (but thought I did) so I ended up subbing in marjoram. (Seriously: I'm starting to think that marjoram is an awesome wonder-spice or something.) And I only used one eggplant. Since I knew that would mean way more liquid without a second eggplant, I decided to fill up the dish with fettucine noodles instead. And I made a few other minopr adjustments as well, just for shits and giggles.
And holy crap: The magic! I gave some to my mom to try, and she called me up immediately after eating it, demanding that I pass along the recipe. So pass it along I do.
I plan to make the stew as it stands in the cookbook sometime in the near future to compare. I suspect the results are not REMARKABLY different. But man, if that buttery, sexy eggplant doesn't meld particularly masterfully with the robust flavor of tomatoes and red peppers when coupled with some long, slippery fettucine noodles. Mmmm mmm.
- 3 T. olive oil
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 bulb garlic
- 2 red bell peppers, stems and seeds removed, sliced in half length-wise
- 2 small white onions, sliced into thin half-moons
- 1/2 c. white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
- 1 t. dried marjoram
- 1 t. dried thyme
- 1 t. ground coriander
- 1/2 t. paprika
- A bit of freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 lb. fettucine noodles, cooked
Preheat oven to 450F.
Quarter the eggplant lengthwise and slice across into 3/4-inch slices.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil, and brush it with about 2 T. of the olive oil. Lay the eggplant on the baking sheets and spray the tops with some sort of spray-oil. In the center, place your peppers. Spray their outsides with some sort of spray-oil as well.
Remove the loose, papery skins from your garlic bulb. Place the garlic on one of the pans as well.
Place the pans in the oven and roast for 25 minutes.
While you do so, boil the water for your fettucine, and cook the noodles as directed on the box. Drain and set aside.
Remove pans from the oven. If the red pepper skinds are blistering, then place them in a paper/plastic bag and close up the bag. If they are not yet blistered, flip the eggplant pieces, respray them with spray-oil, and return everything back to the oven for 15 more minutes.
If you returned the red peppers to the oven, keep checking on them, and once the skins are sufficiently blistered, remove them and place them in a bag as mentioned above.
After the 15 minutes are up, remove everything from the oven. Give a garlic clove a little squeeze, and if it feels soft and mushy, you can set aside. If it's not quite there, remove your eggplant from the pan, and return the garlic to the oven for a wee bit longer.
Once your peppers have cooled, remove the skins (if there's some skin that remains, it's ok), and dice into tiny pieces. Once your garlic has cooled, wet your hands, and squeeze each roasted garlic clove into a bowl.
Up until this point, all of these steps can be done the night before you choose to cook the meal. If you go this route, you can just toss your garlic, eggplant, and roasted red pepper bites into an airtight container and refrigerate.
On the stovetop, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onions for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the white wine, herbs, and bay leaves and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tearing up each tomato with your hands before adding to the pot, and add the remaining juice from the can.
Add the eggplant, peppers, roasted garlic, and chickpeas to the pot and mix well. (Don't be afraid of crushing it--it's a good thing if that happens.)
Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Let sit for about 10 minutes.
Add your drained fettucine noodles and stir well.
Makes 6 to 8 servings