I had spied the original version of this Turkish Lentil and Eggplant stew at the food and wine magazine.
I loved the concept. Luscious eggplant, soft lentils and sweet and sour pomegranate molasses, all seemed like a perfect match made in heaven. I was hooked! As with all things, I tweaked this just a little. A little more tomato and some crushed almonds for garnishing and some more herbs for good measure and a star was born.
My children or at least my son, is not a huge fan of eggplant. I keep trying to find ways to get him to learn to enjoy this rich vegetable. This is a summer dish, perfect for those months when the garden is flowing with tomatoes and eggplants. This stew is best made a day earlier, reheated and garnished just before serving.
I made a large batch of this stew over the weekend, which is just as well. My visit to the dentist resulted in tooth extraction today. As I rest in bed feeling sorry for myself, this will sustain the husband and the brood for today and snowy tomorrow. I did loads of cooking over the weekend, so I am good for the next couple of days. I am suddenly surprisingly busy, as I get ready to wrap up things here for a new beginning.
As, I pick up this recipe again, I realize that I have slept away a lot of the snowy day. Every one in the house feels well rested today. The verdict on this dish was that the daughter did not rave but did take seconds. The husband actually loved it, and the son well, he grudgingly finished it. As for me, I think this dish is relatively easy to assemble with a little planning, I loved its sweet and savory flavors, and love the fact that it adds brightness to the table. Turkish Lentil and Eggplant stew is but a keeper!
A very fragrant and flavorful stew, that is great served the next day.
- 3/4 cup brown lentils (soaked for 2 to 3 hours)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium sized red or yellow onion, finely diced
- 4 to 6 cloves of garlic
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground cumin (optional)
- 8 medium sized tomatoes such as ripe Roma tomatoes
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 3 medium sized young eggplants (about 1 and 1/2 pounds)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley or mint
- 1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds.
- Boil the lentils in 2 cups of water and salt, until partially cooked. Drain and set aside.
- Heat the 1/4 cup olive oil and add in the onion and the garlic and saute for about 5 minutes until soft and translucent.
- Add in the tomatoes, mint, thyme, red pepper flakes and salt and cook for about 15 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and the sauce has begun simmering and thickens slightly.
- Slice the eggplant and place in a colander and sprinkle with the salt and allow it to rest for about 30 minutes. This can be done at the beginning if you wish.
- Blot with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.
- To assemble, place some of the tomato sauce at the bottom of a heavy bottomed pot (with a tight fitting lid). Add in a layer of the eggplants, drizzle with a little olive oil and add in the lentils. Follow this order ending with the tomato sauce until all the ingredients are used up.
- Top with the pomegranate molasses, drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Cover the pot tightly and cook over low heat for an hour and half.
- Let the stew rest for another 30 minutes or a couple of hours before serving.
- To serve mix in the chopped parsley or mint, garnish with the almonds and serve with crusty bread.