Khoresh Bademjan (Persian Tomato & Eggplant Stew)

This is an absolutely incredible vegetarian stew. Traditionally, this dish is made with lamb or beef, but the author described this version as just as savory without the meat. I absolutely loved it. ❤

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Andy Baraghani. I substituted American globe eggplant for the smaller Japanese eggplant and incorporated Campari tomatoes. I also used fresh lime juice instead of dried black limes. We ate the stew over brown Basmati rice with warm naan on the side. Wow. 🙂

Yield: Serves 4

  • 8–9+ T vegetable oil, divided (I used canola oil)
  • 2 globe eggplants (about 2 lbs), peeled, cut into 1-inch rounds OR 6 small Japanese eggplants (about 2 lbs), peeled, halved lengthwise
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 T double-concentrated tomato paste
  • 10 Campari tomatoes, cut into eighths OR 3 medium tomatoes (about 1 lb), seeds removed, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups stock (can substitute water)
  • 3 to 4 cups water
  • 3 lemon omani (dried black limes) or 2 T fresh lime juice (see Note)
  • cooked basmati rice, parsley leaves, plain yogurt, and flatbread, for serving (I served brown Basmati rice, Greek yogurt & warm naan)
  1. Heat 6 tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high.
  2. Working in batches, cook eggplant in a single layer, adding another tablespoon of oil if pan looks dry, until deeply browned, about 3 minutes per side.
  3. Transfer to a paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet; season with coarse salt. (I added an additional 4 tablespoons of oil to cook the second batch of globe eggplant slices.)
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to same pot and cook onion over medium to medium-high, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned around the edges, 8 to10 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle turmeric and cinnamon over and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  6. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, until slightly darkened in color, about 2 minutes.
  7. Add tomatoes; cook, still stirring, until tomatoes have burst and mixture is very thick, 5 to 9 minutes.
  8. Nestle eggplant into sauce and season lightly with salt.
  9. Pour in stock and 3 cups of water; bring to a simmer.
  10. Pierce dried lemon omani with a paring knife and add to pot. (If using lime juice instead, add when dish is finished cooking.)
  11. Cook, gently stirring occasionally, until thickened and eggplant is almost creamy in texture, 40–50+ minutes. (I cooked mine significantly longer to achieve my desired thickness.)
  12. Divide rice among bowls; ladle stew over. (I served the stew over brown Basmati rice.)
  13. Top with parsley and yogurt and serve with flatbread. (I served it with warm naan.)

Gratin of Eggplant, Roasted Bell Peppers, & Garlic

This is my kind of dish- it has over 30 cloves of garlic! It is wonderful for late summer- I was able to incorporate my beautiful CSA long red peppers and eggplant from a friend’s garden. I used canned tomatoes in the sauce but fresh would have been fabulous too.

This recipe was adapted from Fields of Greens: New Vegetarian Recipes from the Celebrated Greens Restaurant by Annie Somerville. We ate it over pasta with bread on the side; polenta would also be great.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

For the Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 medium-size yellow or sweet onion, diced, about 1 cup
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano or marjoram
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, about 2 cups, or 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes with their juice, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf

For the Gratin:

  • 4 pounds Japanese eggplant, sliced 1/4-inch thick on a diagonal
  • 4 1/2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp coarse salt, plus more
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 2 medium-sized red or yellow bell peppers, roasted, peeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 2 T chopped fresh herbs: marjoram, Italian parsley, and/or thyme
  • tomato sauce
  • 1 cup grated Fontina cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • fresh basil, for garnish, optional

To Serve:

  • cooked pasta and/or sourdough baguette

To Make the Tomato Sauce:

  1. Heat the oil in a medium-size saucepan; add the onion, oregano, 1/2 tsp salt, and a few pinches of pepper. Sauté over medium heat until the onion is soft, about 7 to 8 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add the wine and simmer a minute or two to reduce; when the pan is almost dry, add the tomatoes and the bay leaf.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and cook 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To Prepare the Vegetables:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
  2. Toss the eggplant with 3 T of the olive oil, the chopped garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and a few pinches of pepper.
  3. Divide eggplant slices between two parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
  4. Toss the whole garlic cloves with a little olive oil and place alongside the eggplant; roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until the eggplant is soft to the touch and the garlic is soft but still holds its shape. Set aside to cool.
  5. Raise the oven temperature to 500 degrees. Line another baking sheet with foil.
  6. Slice each pepper in half lengthwise and remove the stems, seeds, and membranes.
  7. Lay the pepper halves cut side down on the foil-lined baking sheet, brush lightly with oil, and roast until the skins darken and blister, about 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the peppers from the oven, wrap in the foil to steam as they cool. After 10 minutes, slip off the skins. Slice 1/2-inch thick.
  9. Carefully peel the cooled garlic and toss it with the sliced roasted red pepper strips, the remaining olive oil and salt, a few pinches of pepper, and half the chopped herbs.

To Finish the Dish:

  1. Pour the tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch baking dish, and layer the eggplant nearly upright (not flat) in rows across the width of the dish, overlapping the slices as you go. Continue to layer, packing the slices close together, until you’ve used all the eggplant.
  2. Tuck the pepper strips and garlic cloves in between the eggplant slices and sprinkle with the Fontina.
  3. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. (I set my oven to convection.)
  4. Cover and bake for 20 minutes, then sprinkle with the Parmesan.
  5. Continue to bake, uncovered, for another 10 minutes, until bubbly.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining herbs and/or chopped fresh basil over the gratin just before serving.

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