Thursday, August 20, 2009

Spicy Summer Storm Stew

The stew that we had during a summer storm last night (hence the name) was so good that I'm making it again tonight. My recipe is an adaptation of Melissa D'Arabian's recipe for North African Meatballs without the meatballs. I changed the ingredients and amounts a bit, and I added vegetables. This recipe feeds two hungry people, and I imagine it would be good with just about any kind of meat too.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sliced onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
the zest of one lemon (not the juice!)
1/3 cup pitted and chopped Greek olives (1/2 cup if you measure them with the pits)
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
1 cinnamon stick, or a healthy dash of ground cinnamon
4 carrots, cut into chunks
A handful or two of green beans
1 eggplant, cut into chunks. (If you use Japanese eggplant, there is no need to salt and sweat the eggplant, but if you use regular eggplant, salting and sweating is always good to do.)
3 zucchini, cut into chunks (as per Lisa's comment below).

Use a large, heavy pot with a lid.

Cut the eggplant first, set it to sweat, and then peel and cut the rest of the vegetables, zest the lemon, and pit the olives. By the time you are ready to add the eggplant, it will be ready for you.

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil over medium heat, letting the onion caramelize. Add the zest and the olives, and cook for another minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine, and reduce the mixture, uncovered, for a few minutes. The add the vegetables, stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, salt, and cinnamon stick.

Cover and cook over medium low heat for about 45 minutes.

Serve over couscous made with golden raisins: cook a handful or two of golden raisins in the water or broth before adding the couscous.


Lisa Hirsch said...

That'd be good with some squash thrown in toward the end of the cooking, though it starts to look like a North African Ratatouille at that point.

Elaine Fine said...

Would you believe at the height of eggplant season there were none in the grocery store today? I have taken your squash suggestion, and will report on the results after dinner, Lisa!

Lisa Hirsch said...

That's insane!!

Elaine Fine said...

The zucchini was really good, but it didn't absorb the flavors the way the eggplant did. I think it works more as a supplement than as a substitute.

Out here in the "provinces" essentials are sometimes nowhere to be found in town!

Lisa Hirsch said...

But...but...there are farms in central Illinois. Maybe not growing eggplant?

Elaine Fine said...

My original Japanese eggplant came from a friend's garden. Who knows where the produce we get in Illinois comes from?

Lisa Hirsch said...

New Jersey? California?

T. said...

Looks and sounds delicious, Elaine!
A timely post - I received a supply of zucchini from one of the surgeons' gardens the other day - I felt a little bit like "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" getting her wages!" :) - and can't wait to try this.