Saturday, June 30, 2012

Eggplant, Chickpea, and Tomato Casserole

It may seem like it's the wrong season for this dish. But, I assure you, it's not.

This dish tastes so good, it could be served during any season.

It could even be served on Mars!

Layers of eggplant, chickpeas, and tomato, baked until bubbling and juicy.

Mmmmmm. . .

I bet your mouth is already watering.

Eggplant, Chickpea, and Tomato Casserole - original recipe can be found here

You need:
  • 1 pound eggplant (one large eggplant or 2 medium sized ones)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced along the grain, thinly
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, minced (to taste)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Itsy-bitsy pinch sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 sprig basil
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained
What to do:
  1.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Then, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and brush the foil with olive oil. Place the eggplant slices on the foil, sprinkle with salt and brush each slice lightly with oil. Place in the oven for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Next, remove from heat, and carefully fold the foil in half over the eggplant. Crimp the edges together so that the eggplant is sealed inside the foil and will continue to steam and soften. Leave for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender, (about five minutes) and add the garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about a minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, cinnamon, basil and salt to taste. Bring to a simmer, and simmer uncovered, stirring often, for 20 to 25 minutes, until the sauce is thick and fragrant. Add freshly ground pepper, then taste and adjust salt. Remove the basil sprig, and stir in the drained chickpeas.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and oil a gratin dish. Cover the bottom with thin layer of tomato sauce, and make a layer of half the eggplant. Spoon half the remaining sauce over the eggplant, and repeat the layers until no more eggplant or tomato remains.
  4. Bake 30 minutes, until bubbling. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool for at least 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

The only downside to this recipe is that it's not very pretty. In fact, I might even call it ugly.

I'm afraid my pictures don't help much, either. When I made this, I only quickly snapped some photos (It was right before dinner and I was hungry), instead of setting up a shoot. This resulted in some not-so-good pictures of an already ugly dish. Oops. . .

How about I just promise that it tastes way better than it looks?

Will that get you to try it?

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