Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Khoresh Bademjan.. Or "eggplant goes to Persia."
The original recipe he gave me called for lamb... unfortunately I have yet to figure out what are some good "associative" lamb flavors... aka "things you use to recreate the qualities of lamb." I substituted a "field roast" sausage link, or two, that I had kicking around my fridge. The second time I made it, I used some blue potatoes I had from the CSA. I feel like any potato would work, though, even sweet. I will say that using potatoes makes this the nightshade-y dish possible, If only i could integrate bell peppers and spinach into it, which I bet I could.
This recipe is really just an idea. I quickly learned that any proportion of tomatoes/eggplant works, and it is a great way to use up ones you have.
Anyway... the recipe!
1 oven-ready cooking pot (like 'Les Cruset'), cast iron frying pan, etc.
1 cup of lamb-like "meat" replacer
1 pound eggplant -- sliced into 1/2 slices
2 tablespoons salt
1 onion -- diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
water -- as needed
salt and pepper
1/2 -1 teaspoon cinnamon (I like cinnamon, k?!)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tomato -- sliced thin
4 cloves garlic -- minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
Preheat oven to 450.
In your oven ready dish, cook onion and 2 cloves of garlic in olive oil until golden brown. Add meat-replacer and brown a bit (if it browns). Cover with water and add tomato paste, turmeric, cinnamon and nutmeg. Let simmer until 'meat' is cooked and has absorbed the flavors.
Now place a layer of eggplant over the 'meat' and then layer that with tomato slices. Continue until you run out of substances. Add salt and pepper if desired. Add more water until you can push down on the layers and see it. Cover and simmer until eggplant and tomato are tender, about 10 minutes. Now, place it in the oven. You can let it cook covered or uncovered, depending on the moisture levels. I let it bubble for awhile, until it looks like the eggplant (skins and all) is melting and all recognizable structure has broken down. Half an hour, maybe?
I then let it set for a bit, but it can be eaten right away. This dish makes a fantastic left-over. The photo is of the pre-oven'ed dish... I find it pleasantly surreal.
The mint and garlic can be sauteed in olive oil and served atop for a lovely treat, or you can leave them out.