Summer is trickling away, but my garden continues to pump out a steady supply of eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers. But, I'm becoming more and more aware of the fact that in a couple of months all of this will be a pleasant memory, and the long wait until next year's harvest will begin. So, I enjoy every dish I make with these gifts from my garden, knowing I will miss them very much when they are gone. Yesterday, I made a eggplant stew, loaded with tomatoes and sweet paprika. Technically paprika is a spice, so I'm stretching things by using it as a springboard for Weekend Herb Blogging. WHB was created by the lovely Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen, and she allows us some leeway in these things. The recipe also contains that culinary workhorse, parsley. Parsley is hardly glamorous, but what would we do without it? I certainly notice its absence in any dish calling for it.
This recipe used a healthy dose of sweet paprika. Paprika is ground from different types of peppers, producing varying degrees of heat and taste, according to the pepper used to make it. Some can be quite hot, and the color of the powder can vary. I used Penzeys Hungarian sweet paprika, but you could use hot or smoked paprika in this recipe, according to your taste. Smoked paprika is particularly nice, with it's smoky taste and beautiful red color. This recipe can also have chickpeas added to it, which makes it more substantial. However, I was out of them and the dish was delicious despite their absence. I served this on couscous, but it can be served on anything really. It's very simple to make and I was sorry that I didn't made a double batch! Please go to Kalyn's site to see the other Herb Bloggers in action. There's always something interesting to see on WHB.
Eggplant Stew With Tomatoes, Peppers and Couscous (Adapted from Deborah Madison)
1 to 1 1/2 pounds eggplant
6 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion diced into 1/2 inch squares
1 large red, yellow or green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch squares
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 plump garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
5 large plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and quartered lengthwise
1 15 ounce can chickpeas rinsed (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Cut eggplant lengthwise into 1/2 inch slabs, then crosswise into 1/2 inch sticks. (you don't have to be so precise, cut into the rough sized chunks you want.) Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a wide skillet over high heat until hazy. Add the eggplant and cook, turning the eggplant pieces every few minutes, until golden--about 10 minutes. Put remaining oil in a Dutch Oven type pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, pepper, and paprika, and saute until the onion is slightly brown, about 8 minutes, adding the garlic in the last minute or so. Sit in tomato paste, fry it for about 1 minutes, then add a few Tablespoons of water and scrape up the juices from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, eggplant, 1 cup water, optional chickpeas, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Lower the heat and simmer covered for about 20 minutes, stirring once or twice. Stir in chopped parsley and serve over rice, couscous, or bulgar