Happy New Year! So far, 2015 is off to a great, yet chilly start. As I write this post, I am sitting in my living room with the heat cranked up, donning wool socks, a wool sweater and a cable knit infinity scarf. It’s so cold outside, it is difficult to stay cozy even indoors!
Thankfully, this Roasted Eggplant and Lentil Stew is one stick-to-your-ribs, winter warm up special. The stew calls for pomegranate molasses and harissa, a hot chili pepper paste blended with interesting North African spices. Since both of these ingredients were new to me, I didn’t have them in the pantry. Naturally, it was a good excuse to take a foodie field trip to the Global Market in search of these Middle Eastern essentials.
My shopping experience was a success, leaving with a bag full of fun food finds to try:
The Roasted Eggplant and Lentil Stew was also a success. Roasting the eggplant before adding it to the stew helped to soften and mellow the eggplant, making it almost disappear into the stew. The harissa added just the right amount of heat and a complexity of seasoning. The stew was finished with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, chopped walnuts and pomegranate molasses drizzled on top, adding a touch of tang, crunch and sweet.
Roasted Eggplant and Lentil Stew (recipe inspired from Food and Wine Magazine)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups dried lentils (Kimker Hill Farm, St. Clair, MO)
- 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped (ours were frozen whole, from Local Chef StL CSA)
- 1 qt. vegetable stock
- 1 large eggplant, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. harissa
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper
- plain Greek yogurt, chopped walnuts, pomegranate molasses for serving
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In a large stockpot, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Add onion, celery, garlic and bay leaf and cook over medium heat until softened. Add lentils, tomatoes, stock. Cover and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally until lentils become tender, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Toss eggplant in remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake eggplant until tender, about 25 minutes.
- Add roasted eggplant to lentils, along with the harissa and parsley. Discard bay leaf.
- Ladle stew into bowls, top with yogurt, a sprinkle of walnuts and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses.