One of my favourite meals, this delightfully rich stew combines two middle eastern staples to create a mouthwatering stew of aubergine (eggplant) and chickpeas. A full-bodied tomato sauce complemented by tangy pomegranate molasses, zesty lemon and the indespensable garlic (an ingredient of which, in my opinion, you can never have too much), is what makes this dish so unique. It's simple to make, delicious to eat, and filling to boot!
The Captain (my partner's newly chosen nickname, a preference over being called "dad" in relation to our four legged children) isn't so keen on this dish, but I think that's because I'm really only 50% devoted to him. The other half of my love is pretty much wholly directed toward chickpeas and I think el capitán is just a little jealous and defensive is all.
But honestly, isn't there room for both man and legume in a woman's life? Sheesh.
Enjoy your weekends!
- Preheat the oven to 250° Celcius (475° F). Use the 2 tbsp of olive oil to brush both sides of the aubergine (eggplant) slices and bake for about 8 minutes. Turn the slices over and cook a further 8 minutes. The aubergine rounds should be shriveled and slightly brown. When they're finished, remove from the oven and set aside.
- While the eggplant is a-cookin', sauté the garlic in that other 1 tsp of olive oil (use a large sauté pan or skillet frying pan) for 30 seconds. Add the can of tomato (you can use fresh ones if they're in season but otherwise for fullness of flavour I recommend tinned) along with the tomato paste, sugar, salt, and lemon juice. Simmer over medium heat for five minutes before adding the pomegranate molasses, chickpeas, and aubergine slices.
- Allow the stew to continue simmering for another 10-15 minutes, tossing in most of the parsley (reserve some if you want to garnish) just a few minutes before serving.
- Serve hot or cold (it's actually quite a nice picnic food) and try not to drool too much.