This week, I picked up both eggplant and shallots at the farmer’s market. While searching for ways to cook the eggplant (I’m very bad at eggplant), I came a recipe for eggplant and shallot stew, which sounded so good I wanted to make it immediately. Of course, I was missing almost all ingredients aside from shallots and eggplant, for the recipe (from Eating Well magazine), so here is my own riff on it (à la raisins, cashews and whole-wheat couscous, and minus what sound like complicated spice-grinding and mustard-seed-popping processes).
Eggplant and Shallot Stew with Whole Wheat Couscous
Servings: About 3 // Time: Less than ½ hour
1 medium-sized eggplant, peeled and cut into small cubes
3/4 cup diced shallots
2 serrano peppers*
½ cup raisins
½ cup raw cashews (pinenuts would probably be good, too)
1 cup water
2 cloves peeled garlic
5 fresh basil leaves,* chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seed
dashes of tumeric, cumin and ground black pepper
grated parmesan (if you want)
(* because I also had them from the same farmer’s market haul)
In medium saucepan, heat a tablespoon or so of grapeseed oil. Add chopped peppers, letting them toast a little before adding other ingredients.
Add eggplant, shallots, raisins, cashews, water, garlic, basil, fennel seed, spices and pepper. Stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer (at least until eggplant is fork-tender, 3-5 minutes, but I let mine go about 15 minutes, so make everything really soft and the flavors all blended).
Begin couscous—for whole-wheat, medium-pearled couscous, it’s 1 cup couscous to 1 ¼ cups water, + a teaspoon or so of olive oil. Bring to a boil, then cover and remove from heat. Fluff/stir after about 5 minutes.
Coarsely mash the eggplant shallot mixture.
Sprinkle couscous with pepper and grated parmesan. Serve stew with or on top of couscous.