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Author Notes: This warmly spiced stew is what's for dinner tonight. Eggplant is the star here. If you love eggplant then this recipe is for you. I'm half Middle Eastern, which makes me a genetically programmed eggplant lover.
This stew is a good one, especially in the late summer when eggplants are bursting from farmers' markets. When selecting eggplants, always pick ones that are very firm and shiny, free of brown spots, soft spots and blemishes.
For this recipe, I use five-inch eggplants, no peeling or salting is necessary. If you can only find large ones, you may want to peel some of their skin off in strips with a vegetable peeler before chopping. Fresh eggplants are the key ingredient here. The bitterness in some eggplants comes from being over-mature. So remember to buy firm eggplants. Look for green leaves at the stem too.
This Moroccan tagine is healthy and comforting. Chickpeas give it substance and protein. Saffron, ginger and a mix of spices transport you to an exotic Marrakesh market. A dollop of creme fraiche is always welcome on top when served.
Rapunzel No Salt Vegetable Bouillon Cubes are delicious. I love them for their clean taste. If you don't want to hunt for them, you can just use water or substitute the water for your favorite vegetable broth or stock.
Harissa is a wonderful North African condiment that comes in a dried form or a paste. Teeny Tiny Spice Company of Vermont makes a good dried one.
Garbanzo bean flour is also known as besan or chickpea flour. It's popular in Middle Eastern and Indian dishes. It's used to thicken soups and stews. Here, I use it to give the stew a luxurious, creamy texture. It also bumps up the iron and nutrients. I buy it from my regular market or online at Bob's Red Mill Garbanzo Bean Flour. It's also sold in Middle Eastern and Indian markets.
—Jill @ Sew French
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 3 small five-inch eggplants, chopped (about 9-10 cups of chopped eggplant)
- 1 bell pepper, chopped. I use green
- 1 garlic clove, minced using a garlic press or a microplane zester
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups of crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups of water
- 2 Rapunzel No Salt Vegetable Bouillon cubes (see notes)
- 1 16-ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- A small pinch of saffron (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon of harissa (optional, see notes for explanation)
- Drizzle of honey or pinch of sugar to balance the acid in the tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried mint
- 1/2 tablespoon chickpea flour mixed with 1/2 tablespoon of cold water to thicken the tagine (optional, see notes)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil and butter for cooking
- Serving Suggestions: Dollop of creme fraiche, Greek yogurt or sour cream. Couscous, bulgur wheat, quinoa, rice, pita, chapati, roti, naan, fresh chopped, scallions, chives, mint or parsley, olives, crumbled feta
- Saute the onion and bell pepper in some olive oil and/or butter with salt and pepper until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, crushed tomatoes, water, bouillon cubes, chickpeas, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, saffron, harissa and honey. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the chopped eggplant. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 15-20 minutes or until the eggplant is tender. Add the dried mint and adjust seasonings. To thicken the tagine, mix the chickpea flour with equal parts cold water. Stir this mixture into the stew and simmer for an additional minute. Serve with any of the above suggestions and enjoy!