Braised Eggplant

Served with a side of warm pita bread, this Greek-style eggplant recipe makes a satisfying meatless meal.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb eggplant, cut into cubes
Salt
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 carrot, chopped
6 large garlic cloves, minced
2 dry bay leaves
1 to 1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika OR smoked paprika
1 tsp organic ground coriander
1 tsp dry oregano
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp organic ground turmeric
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 28-oz can chopped tomato
2 15-oz cans chickpeas, reserve the canning liquid
Fresh herbs such as parsley and mint for garnish

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place eggplant cubes in a colander over a large bowl or directly over your sink, and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 20 minutes or so to allow eggplant to “sweat out” any bitterness. Rinse with water and pat dry.

In a large braiser, heat 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil over medium-high until shimmering but not smoking. Add onions, peppers and chopped carrot. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly, then add garlic, bay leaf, spices and a dash of salt. Cook another minute, stirring until fragrant. Add eggplant, chopped tomato, chickpeas and reserved chickpea liquid. Stir to combine.

Bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes or so. Stir often. Remove from stove top, cover and transfer to oven.

Cook in oven for 45 minutes until eggplant is fully cooked through to very tender. (While eggplant is braising, be sure to check once or twice to see if more liquid is needed. If so, remove from oven briefly and stir in about 1/2 cup of water at a time.) When eggplant is ready, remove from oven, add a generous drizzle of olive oil and garnish with fresh herbs (parsley or mint). Serve hot or at room temperature with a side of Greek yogurt or even Tzatziki sauce and pita bread.

•Slow cooker instructions: Prepare the recipe up to step #3 as written, then transfer ingredients to your slow cooker. Add 1 cup water and the remaining ingredients from step 4. Cook on low for 4 hours or until eggplant is very tender. Serves up to 6 people. 

Printable recipe available at https://www.themediterraneandish.com/braised-eggplant-recipe-greek-style/

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