The eggplant was flame-roasted, as in the above stew with lentils, but the ratio of eggplant to legume was such that it was super creamy. I knew I wanted that smoky flavor, lemon, cumin, and cilantro. After that, well, this whole thing was pretty random. After starting the recipe, and after several glasses of wine, I set out pomegranate molasses, za'atar, sumac, and some other things I don't remember, in front of my friend Holly, and said, "Choose your Middle-Eastern flavors!" She went for the za'atar--which I'm not sure is often used in stewed dishes this way--and later I cheated and added a tiny bit of pomolasses as well. It's important not to overdo it; in this Syrian chickpea-chard dish, the tangy flavor was far too intense. Some wine ended up in there, too.
Anyway, this dish was spicy, tangy, and smoky; I loved it. We were just too hungry to stew it long enough, and the onions were a bit crunchy. Oh well. We had this with roasted veggies in apricot-thyme wine sauce and harissa kale. Speaking of which... oops, I threw in the leftovers before taking the below photograph. It had green in it before, anyway, from the cilantro.
Flame-Roasted Eggplant and Chickpea Stew (picture with kale, oops)
1 large eggplant
1 TB olive oil
1 onion, chopped
salt to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp toasted ground cumin
red pepper flakes, to taste
1 can chickpeas
1/2 c white wine
1 c vegetable stock
2 TB za'atar
1 tsp pomegranate molasses
lemon juice, to taste
cilantro, to taste
Instructions1. Roast the eggplant over medium flame on a gas burner, turning every minute or two. When it's blackened and soft, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil. Saute onion several minutes. While onion is cooking, peel and coarsely chop eggplant. Set aside again.
3. Add salt, garlic, cumin, and red pepper flakes to the saucepan. Saute a few more minutes, then add chickpeas. Cook about one minute, then deglaze with wine. Add eggplant, stock, and za'atar, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Near the end, add pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, and cilantro, as well as salt and chili to taste. Serve hot. Serves about 3.
This squirrel is really taking liberties. One day, I found a pile of nutshells next to the driver's-side door of my car. And then, I walked out of my apartment to a cascade of nut debris. When I looked up, who should I see at the VERY CREST of the building, but...
Yeah, he's up there. Don't get me started about his early-morning roof exercises.