Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Aubergine and Chickpea Ragout

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

BBC Radio4 Desert Island Discs Podcast ~ Timothy Spall

Now those of you who regularly read my humble little blog will know that aubergine (eggplant) is one of those foods I have a love/hate relationship with. I want to love it, really I do but my liking of it, is very dependant on how it's cooked. I have friends who love the purple veggie and cannot understand my issue with it. But once again it is that whole texture issue as with tofu, mushrooms and okra. When eating out I actively avoid aubergine dishes or I spend that meal discreetly pushing the pieces to the side of my plate. So more often than not I eat aubergine cooked by my fair hand. That way I can make sure it's cut into my preferred size, small dice with some of the peel stripped away but not all, and cooked down to my preferred texture...mush! lol But as with tofu I keep trying. You are probably one of those aubergine lovers and think I am completely nuts...

In my efforts to keep 'trying' I do actively seek out new ways of cooking aubergine. I was flicking through some random cookbooks looking for a brown lentil recipe and happened upon this Ragout. Admittedly my attention was caught by my beloved chickpea and I also admit I almost dismissed it when I saw the aubergine next to it. But reading through the recipe I decided to give it try. Woo..brave, eh? lol. Yep that's the kinda vegan warrior I am. So armed with my aubergine I headed into the kitchen to make a dish I knew I probably wouldn't like. 

As normal when I am cooking with aubergine I use my fruit skin stripper which peels a finely thin amount of skin away. I end up with a beautifully striped aubergine. The sometimes tough skin is part of the texture issue for me. As the recipe was only for my consumption I halved the recipe so it would make two meals instead of four but below is the original recipe. It comes from Leah Leneman's cookbook Easy Vegan Cooking which is a really good, basic cookbook and I have enjoyed many economical recipes from it. And as the title says they are on the whole very easy to cook. This recipe was no different and I got busy making the brown lentil dish whilst it cooked away in the skillet. However I did have to ignore the overwhelming aubergine aroma..another issue for me. But hey..I sucked it up and got on with it. 

Now the results were quite frankly delicious. I served mine with a side of brown rice and steamed green veggies. I was amazed by how much I enjoyed it. The aubergine had cooked down into the tomatoes and left the ragout with a silky sauce. The overall flavour was a little rich but not overpoweringly so. I happily enjoyed it again the next night for my evening meal with a baked potato. A very simple Greek inspired dish that has big flavours...

Aubergine and Chickpea Ragout

Aubergine and Chickpea Ragout     Serves 4
(Recipe from Easy Vegan Cooking/Leneman)

1 large aubergine (eggplant)
2 large onions (I used red)
100ml/4 fl oz/ 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (1 used 1 tbsp)
455g/ 1lb/ 2 1/2 cups or 2 tins chickpeas
2 tins chopped tomatoes 
1 tsp dried mint
sea salt to taste 
freshly ground black pepper to taste 

Chop the aubergine into cubes and chop the onions coarsely. Heat the olive oil gently and saute until tenderized. Add the cooked chickpeas, tomatoes, mint and seasoning. 

Cook uncovered, over a low heat for half an hour. Cool and serve at room temperature or hot. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Wednesday is a peaceful one...


NB: This is not my recipe and therefore take no credit for it whatsoever. It is the hard work and creative talent of Leah Leneman and hers alone. I thank her for a great cookbook. ~R~