Eggplant & chickpea stew

(From EatingWell, as was the previous recipe – I tend to go down the rabbit hole with recipe sites; before this one, it was 101 Cookbooks. With that one, I probably made 25-30 different recipes from the site but never posted about them, so I’ll try to do a round-up post w/r/t that sometime in the near future.)

Eggplant & chickpea stew

Note: I started this this morning, so I will edit in an update once we’ve actually been able to taste it.

  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 2 large eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 small (1-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, rinsed and soaked overnight (for a quick-soak method, see Tip) and drained
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatoes (see Note), drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine dried mushrooms and hot water in a bowl. Stir well and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve lined with a paper towel and set the liquid aside. Finely chop the mushrooms.
  3. Meanwhile, peel eggplants, if desired, and cut in half lengthwise. Brush the cut sides liberally with 2 tablespoons oil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut-side down, and roast until tender, about 25 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Cut into 1-inch cubes and transfer to a 4-quart (or larger) slow cooker.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, cinnamon stick, salt, pepper, bay leaf and the chopped mushrooms; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the reserved mushroom-soaking liquid and chickpeas. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker and stir to combine with the eggplant.
  5. Cover and cook until the chickpeas are very tender, about 4 hours on High or 7 to 8 hours on Low. Remove cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Stir in tomatoes and parsley.
  6. Variation: Turn 3 cups of leftover stew into Eggplant & Chickpea Baked Pasta. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square (or similar 2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook 8 ounces whole-wheat fusilli according to package directions. Drain and rinse. Combine 1/2 cup coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Note) and 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a small bowl. Toss the pasta with 3 cups stew, 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (or basil) and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a large bowl. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Top with the breadcrumb mixture. Bake until the topping is golden and crispy, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (or basil).
  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4 and refrigerate (in a container other than the slow cooker insert) for up to 2 days. To finish, transfer to the slow cooker and continue with Step 5. The cooked stew can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. | Equipment: 4-quart or larger slow cooker
  • Tip: To quick-soak chickpeas (or other dried beans), place in a large saucepan with enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour.
  • Note: Look for Italian San Marzano tomatoes—they are particularly rich in flavor and taste best in this dish.
  • Note: To make your own breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry, about 10 to 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs. For store-bought coarse dry breadcrumbs we like Ian’s brand, labeled “Panko breadcrumbs.” Find them at well-stocked supermarkets.
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