Santa Fe’s winter has been tepid this year and, much to my dismay, it felt like spring was already springing. And this is why we should never give up hope. It has snowed three times in the last two weeks and more snow is expected tonight. Even a thin blanket of snow is welcome as we need the moisture and I love the snow.
But before spring officially does arrive, I made an eggplant and chickpea stew with Morrocan spices to warm the fire within. Because what’s better than sitting in front of a fire with a hot bowl of stew while it’s snowing? And it may be the last stew to enjoy prior to diving into salad season. Truthfully, it was a beautiful eggplant that inspired this dish as well as a friend who recently made something similar that has lingered on my palate.
Benefits of Stews and Spices
This stew comes together quickly and easily and the flavor is heightened by the addition of assertive Moroccan spices. Cumin, paprika, coriander, turmeric, a pinch of cinnamon and red pepper flakes, this stew is not short on flavor. In fact, these spices come together brilliantly to make a balanced dish that you will want again and again. After simmering for one-hour on the stove, the eggplant and vegetables break down and soften while the aroma of the spices perfumes the entire house.
One thing I love about stews (and soups) is that they make even better leftovers. Store any leftovers in the freezer for those days when no one wants to cook or knows what to cook. Having something wildly delicious and ready-to-go in the freezer always makes me happy. Simply defrost, heat, serve over rice and dinner is done.
And It’s Vegan
Another benefit to vegetable stews is that they are inherently vegan, but we don’t have to mention this. The meatiness of the eggplant will fool them all into thinking that this stew is hearty enough and won’t leave anyone missing the meat.
Serve with turmeric rice and/or protein of your choice for a wholesome meal before we really do spring into spring.
Moroccan-Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Stew
This stew is so hearty and wholesome--and vegan, most people won't even know it doesn't have any meat. It comes together easily and simmers on the stove to fill your house with an amazing aroma. The spices are what elevate this dish from a simple stew to something that is bold and flavorful. Serve over rice, couscous or with salmon or protein of choice.
- 1 large eggplant peeled and cubed
- 1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt for sprinkling over the cut eggplant
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and more as needed for cooking
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt divided into two half teaspoons
- 1 carrot diced
- 1 rib celery diced
- 1 bell pepper your choice of color, but I prefer red or yellow
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 15 oz. can chickpeas do not drain, as you will use the liquid
- 1 15 oz. can water
- 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
Peel and chop the eggplant and place in a colander with 1 teaspoon of salt. Set aside and let the eggplant sweat for 1 hour.
Once the eggplant has extracted liquid, rinse the eggplant and place on a dry kitchen towel to remove any excess liquid.
In a soup pot over medium heat, add olive oil.
Once hot, add the onion, eggplant and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook until soft, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the diced carrot, celery, bell pepper and the remaining half teaspoon of salt. Stir well to coat and cook 5 minutes.
Add minced garlic and spices (paprika, cumin, turmeric, coriander, black pepper and red pepper flakes) and cook for 3 minutes, stirring so the spices don't burn.
Add chickpeas and the liquid and stir to blend the spices.
Fill the can that the chickpeas were in with water and add to the pot, stirring well to combine.
Add canned tomatoes and stir again to mix everything together. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for about 10 minutes, bringing it to a simmer.
Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 1 hour.
Taste the stew and adjust seasonings if needed, adding a bit more salt to taste, if desired.
Turn off the heat and let the stew meld until ready to serve.
Reheat the stew and serve over turmeric rice, white rice, brown rice or couscous and/or your protein of choice.
Place any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to five days or put the stew directly into the freezer for a day when you don't want to cook.