Rainy days have returned to the city. The chill, moist air encourages the cook to simmer, boil and bake even more than usual.
An eggplant was sitting in my kitchen, because I remembered that Joel liked it when we tried a few slices grilled. When I saw some small ones that weren’t shriveled, I decided to add one to my bag of fruits and vegetables.
Grilling wasn’t what the weather called for, though. So, I looked for ideas on the internet. The search resulted in recipes for a Greek stew. Since I was pretty sure that my husband wouldn’t find the cinnamon or cumin terribly palatable, I only followed the instructions roughly:
1 lb. beef steak
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t ginger, minced
250 gm tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon red curry paste
dash of cinnamon
dash of paprika
panela (or sugar), to taste
salt, to taste
1 small, purple eggplant
Cut the beef into bite-sized cubes. Heat a large pot and add 1-2 T olive oil. Brown the beef in the hot oil. Add the minced garlic and ginger.
Next, add the tomato paste and spices, along with the water to the beef. Stir until the mixture is well blended. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot.
Meanwhile, prepare the eggplant. There are tricks and tips available at many websites, if you are worried that the texture will turn out spongy. I peeled my eggplant and sliced it lengthwise, instead of in circles. Somebody says that helps to minimize the channels in the flesh, so that it holds less liquid. Actually, I ended up with diced pieces. Next, salt the vegetable so that the liquid can be drawn out. Leave it for 30 minutes, then rinse it to remove the excess salt. Squeeze out the extra water (It doesn’t really make sense to me, but it works.).
Fry the eggplant in a separate pan with a little bit of olive oil. Remove it and pat off the excess oil with a paper towel.
When the stew is tender (after about an hour) add the eggplant to the pot. Let it simmer about 3 more minutes, so that the eggplant is heated through.
You can sprinkle it with chopped cilantro, if you are a fan.
Serve with rice, potato, or …Alfredo pasta.