Harvest stew with eggplant, tomato, peppers, and chickpeas

This hearty vegetarian stew makes good use of late season tomatoes and eggplants from the garden.

The Garden of Eating
This hearty vegetarian stew makes good use of late season tomatoes and eggplants from the garden.

Fall is a perfect time to make this lovely, simple summer stew from Deborah Madison's excellent cookbook, "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone." The flavors are fresh and clean. Served over quinoa, it makes a wonderful meal. Healthy, too.

The second round of tomatoes are ripening right now and the eggplants are still coming strong. There was a chance of frost last night but it didn't get us, thankfully.

There's a bunch of slicing and dicing needed for this recipe, followed by a bunch of sautéeing and some simmering. I stuck pretty close to the recipe but added some fresh herbs from our garden – oregano, tarragon and thyme. I served it over some quinoa I cooked in vegetable broth and fluffed with a little butter (makes it extra tasty).

The chickpeas give it a little more substance, making it a perfect vegetarian main dish. Enjoy!

Summer Stew with Eggplant, Tomato, Peppers and Chickpeas
Adapted from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
Serves 4-6

1-1/2 lbs eggplant
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, diced into 1/2 to 2/3-inch squares
1 large red or yellow bell pepper, diced into 2/3- to 3/4-inch squares
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 plump cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
5 plum tomatoes, diced
1 15-oz. can organic chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon (optional)
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

1. Cut the eggplant into cubes. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat until hazy. Add the eggplant and stir to distribute the oil. Cook – reducing the heat if the eggplant threatens to scorch – turning the pieces every few minutes, until golden, about 10 minutes. Set the eggplant aside.

2. While the eggplant cooks, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers and sautée until the onion is lightly browned around the edges – about 10 minutes, adding the garlic and paprika during the last few minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes then add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes more.

3. Add the eggplant, chickpeas, stock, herbs, a teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are cooked through and the flavors are blended – adding water if the stew seems dry – about 30 minutes. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve over quinoa, couscous or rice.

Related post on The Garden of Eating: Curried Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew

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