M’s Turk-ish Eggplant Stew

Miranda here, posting a recipe by request.  

So here’s the deal. Eggplants are creepy.

Don’t get me wrong, I think they is one fine looking piece of … fruit? vegetable? alien pod? whatever. And so much variety in shape, size, colour, etc., that the eggplant area of my life is delightfully well-spiced (you know, ‘variety is the spice of life‘…. Okay). I dig it.
But … they also seem kinda poisonous, and like, what’s up with being the texture of wet packing foam fresh and like the lovechild of a mushroom and a whelk when cooked? I see you decided to go with ‘slippery’. Well played Mme. Aubergine, well played.

It’s taken me a long time, an exercise of my palatal boundaries (aging, as Shakespeare noted, does play dickey with our tastes), and an interest in slaking my mother’s insane hunger for eggplant to reach parley with this ‘edible’. 

I’ve disCOVered … it’s quite nice. Mixed with other stuff. Cooked like, a lot, usually with spices. Hey, does everybody want a bouquet of only baby’s breath? No. I like my textures diverse, and my baba ganoush like, 90% pita chip.

To get to the point, I composed this delish eggplant recipe with reference to Almost Turkish Recipes’ Vegeterian Eggplant Stew (Etsiz Patlican Güveç) and Taste.com’s Beef and Eggplant Stew and a hearty helping of rugged individualism. It came out preh-tay awesome, I am required by inherent truthfulness to say. Diane loves it for its rich layers of flavour and healthy, hearty vegetabliness that make it the perfect combination of comforting and exotic. There’s something for everyone in there! Plus, you can stroke some more hash marks into your summer “Zucchinis/Eggplants/Tomatoes ENDED” tally with a sauce-stained smile once you’ve roused yourself from your stewy food-coma.

Celebrate the small victories.

(Mme. Aubergine can celebrate a gracious concession from one former eggplant separatist.)

Enjoy.

M's Turkish Eggplant Stew
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
The perfect combination of comforting and exotic, and an amazing way to use up summer vegetables.
Ingredients
  • 1 large eggplant (larger than big grapefruit) or equivalent amount of smalls
  • 1 zucchini about 6 in. long (soft center cut out) or equivalent amount of smalls
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled
  • 3 seitan filets (equivalent to 4"x4" each) or other vegetarian protein product, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped thin
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced unless you like larger pieces
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. thick tomato product: tomato paste, fresh tomato concoction, specialty ketchup, etc.
  • 1½ cups broth (I have used leftover broth from making seitan before, or veggie broth)
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil, more or less
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil, more or less
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • [Optional additional spices, in any combination: ½ tsp. ground ginger, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp. ground paprika, Touch of chili/pepper of some sort]
Instructions
  1. Use vegetable peeler to stripe the eggplant and zucchini lengthwise. Chop into ~ 1 in. pieces, or to preference (eggplant will shrink in cooking, so can leave larger chunks).
  2. Chop potatoes smaller (1/2") to keep cooking time down.
  3. Heat a large pan (I prefer to use our flat-bottomed wok) on high until very hot.
  4. Toss in eggplant and zucchini as well as potatoes and seitan and allow to sear, stirring on and off to prevent burning.
  5. Drizzle some sesame oil and/or olive oil around the edges of the pan to stop the searing and allow the veggies and seitan to begin to fry.
  6. When seitan begins to brown a bit, turn down the heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until onions are browning (don't allow garlic to burn, as it cooks faster than onion).
  7. Add spices and ketchup, and stir on medium-low for a few moments to fully incorporate.
  8. Pour in broth and stir well.
  9. Cover, and set to simmer for 30 min. If it's looking too soupy towards the end, remove the cover and raise the heat until it's less liquidy, but it should be like a thick stew.
  10. Serve with rice or couscous.
Notes
We count on the excellent leftovers, so I always make extra, but it is filling so portion size may be smaller for some. May also be made a few hours early, left in the pan on the stove and reheated to serve. For seitan recipe see Diane's post: http://www.vegetariat.com/2015/01/seitan/.

MCK

 

Cucharas



Cucharas served with hot rice and homemade dill pickle.



Cucharas is one of my favorite eggplant dishes.  With several huge Black Beauty eggplants ready to eat, it is time to make these treats.  There are several steps, but none of them difficult.  The eggplant doesn’t need to be salted or oiled, and the result is tasty hot or as leftovers.  It doesn’t taste particularly eggplanty, so for those who don’t think they like eggplant, they may want to try this recipe.

Halve, then quarter the eggplant.

The word ‘cuchara’ in Spanish means spoon or scoop.  The eggplant ‘flesh’ is cooked then gently stripped away from the skins, which are reserved.  The insides are then mashed with yummy ingredients and then plopped back on the skins, then baked.  The process is very forgiving, so if the skins tear, it is okay.  It all sticks together with filling in the end.

Scoop out the ‘flesh’ from the cooled skin, and save the skins.

  If you are using larger eggplants, then when filling the skin, just cut them in half.  The cucharas should be either small enough to be picked up and eaten out of hand, or eaten with a fork.

Cucharas make great finger – food as an appetizer.

 The original recipe is from Sundays at Moosewood Cookbook.

Cucharas
Author: 
Recipe type: Main dish or appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16 coucharas
 
Ingredients
  • 2 medium eggplants with smooth skin
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 2½ cups grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup grated Romano cheese
  • ¼ cup matzo meal or bread crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • freshly grated nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Stem the eggplants and cut each in half lengthwise.
  2. Cut each half crosswise into four pieces.
  3. In a covered suacepan, simmer the eggplant chunks in water to cover for 15 minutes until pulp is tender.
  4. Drain the eggplant in a colander and set them aside to cool.
  5. Whjen you can comfortably handle the eggplant, use a teaspoon to separate the pulp from the skins, taking care not to tear the rectangles of skin.
  6. Reserve the skins. Should any tear apart, save them anyway because you can overlap two torn pieced to form a single iece and the filling will hold them together.
  7. In a bowl, vigorously mash the eggplant pulp with the garlic, or use a food processor or blender.
  8. Mix in the remaining ingredients, except for ½ cup cheddar cheese and nutmeg, and combine thoroughly. Add more matzo meal if the mixture seems too thin.
  9. Place a skin, shiny side down, in the palm of your hand.
  10. Mound it with the eggplant mixture about an inch thick.
  11. Place it on a well-oiled baking sheet. Continue until all the skins and mixture are used.
  12. Sprinkle a little of the reserved cheddar and a bit of nutmeg onto each couchara.
  13. Bake 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.
  14. The preparation can be done ahead of time and the coucharas baked just before serving.