My eggplant are not doing well this year, so I picked up some eggplants from Taproot Organic Farm at the farmers market. Now, typically, when I have eggplants I make Khoresh Bademjun (Persian Eggplant Stew). And when my husband heard that I was not making that, he was not happy. But I had seen the recipe for Eggplant and Tomato Stew with Pomegranate Molasses in Lousia Shafia’s The New Persian Kitchen and really wanted to try it.
The ingredients that intrigued me were the split peas and the pomegranate molasses. I love the flavor the molasses brings to dishes and I thought pairing it with eggplant would make for a rich dish…and it did. The split peas added some texture to what otherwise would have been an entirely soft stew. But what I really wanted to try was roasting the eggplant instead of frying it. I was skeptical about that, but to my pleasant surprise, it worked great. I may even try that the next time I make Khoresh Bademjun. It makes the dish a whole lot healthier.
S0 what was the verdict? I served it with some vinegary cucumbers (see Cool Cucumber Salad – to be posted soon). My husband was happy with his dinner. Chalk one up for me!
Eggplant and Tomato Stew with Pomegranate Molasses
From The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia
- 2 pounds Japanese eggplant, peeled and diced
- Sea salt
- 5 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1/2cup split peas
- 8 cups water
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 4 medium to large tomatoes, coarsely chopped (from the garden) (note: you can use diced canned tomatoes if you need to)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (from the garden)
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, boiling
- freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread the eggplant on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon of the oil.Bake for 40 minutes, stirring gently every 10 minutes to prevent sticking. When the eggplant is completely soft, let it cool to room temperature.While the eggplant cooks, combine the split peas with the water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes, until the peas are tender. Drain and season with 1 teaspoon salt.Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven or a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 10 minutes, until it starts to darken, then cook slowly over low heat for about 30 minutes, until it is dark brown and about half its original volume.Add the eggplant, tomatoes, turmeric, cinnamon, pomegranate molas- ses, garlic, split peas, and 1 teaspoon salt. Add the stock.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour. Uncover and simmer for 15 minutes, until the stew is thick.Turn off the heat and let the stew rest for 15 to 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Enjoy!Serves 4.