I can’t resist vegetables I’ve never seen before. I returned home from my last trip to the farmers’ market with African eggplants and pineapple tomatillos. The eggplants are deep orange in color and round like tomatoes. The tomatillos are the tiniest things you’ve ever seen, each one about the size of a chickpea. You can see pictures of both on my Instagram feed.
This is about the only time of year I eat eggplant. Not of fan of the big, purple, seedy ones you find in grocery stores year-round, I do like the smaller ones grown locally during the summer. The farmer who sold me the African variety said they were excellent in soup. He was correct.
This recipe uses some unusual ingredients, but you can easily adapt it to what you have. Can’t find Ras el Hanot, a Moroccan spice blend? Just use curry powder. No tomatillos in your market? Leave them out. Raw grocery store tomatoes looking anemic? Try canned. Heck, I even threw in some liquid I used to cook lentils as my “vegetable broth.”
Moroccan Eggplant Stew
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion minced
- 2 cups diced eggplant different varieties
- 2 medium gold potatoes diced
- 1/4 pound pineapple tomatillos or tomatillos husks removed (if using full-sized tomatillos, dice them)
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout Moroccan spice blend or curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 large tomatoes peeled, seeded, and diced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
Heat oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft and golden (about 5 minutes).
Add eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 to 10 minutes or until eggplant begins to soften.
Add potatoes, tomatillos, garlic, Ras el Hanout, cayenne, and salt. Mix well, then cook, stirring often, for another 3 minutes.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and broth or water. Mix well.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender.
If tomatoes aren't in season, use a 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes (with juice) instead and reduce the amount of broth/water to 1 cup.