Green Matbucha

August 23, 2017
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Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

This take on North African matbucha swaps the traditional red bell peppers for green, and blends in plenty of fresh green herbs and za’atar, giving the dish a verdant hue. Serve it on top of roasted chicken, fish, meat, or veggies. Or add it to a mezze spread, served with crackers or grilled pita for dipping.

Reprinted with permission from Little Book of Jewish Appetizers, by Leah Koenig (Chronicle, August, 2017).

Leah Koenig

  • Serves 8
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups peeled, 1/2-inch eggplant cubes
  • 1 medium green pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried za'atar, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 cup fresh, mint leaves, packed
In This Recipe
  1. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion, eggplant, green peppers, jalapeño, sugar, and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, za'atar, onion powder, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice, and bring mixture to a simmer; reduce heat to low and cook, partially covered and stirring often, until mixture thickens and the vegetables grow very tender, about 10 minutes. Partway through cooking, mash the vegetables a bit with a potato masher or the back of a spoon.
  3. Meanwhile, place the basil, mint, another generous pinch of salt, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until a pesto-like paste forms. Stir green mixture into eggplant mixture and let cook until the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season with additional salt and black pepper to taste. Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with more za'atar.

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Leah is the author of Modern Jewish Cooking: Recipes & Customs for Today's Kitchen (Chronicle, 2015)

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