As I was planning our meals for the week, I was looking for something new to try out. We had eggplant on sale at our local market, so I searched for a recipe containing eggplant and rice. Well, I came across a recipe on cooks.com, that I have adapted to be allergen-free (and I added a couple special touches just to personalize it a bit). It sounded interesting, but worth a shot, as I love cumin (and the other ingredients-just wasn't sure about mixing them all together!)
But first, a side note about eggplant: I first fell in love with eggplant at a local Italian restaurant- I had it grilled on a "build your own pizza". The first time I tried to cook with it, I was disappointed. It tasted funny and was somewhat bitter. Well, I found a really great Italian cookbook, and I picked up this tip once when I cooked Spaghetti alla Norma (spaghetti w/fried eggplant): Slice or cube the eggplant, and place it on a cutting board at an incline...sprinkle it with salt, and the bitter juices will run off...like so:
I just used a rolled up kitchen towel under the cutting board and placed it right next to the sink so as not to make a mess. Leave it for about 30 minutes or so...that should do the trick.
Here's the recipe:
1 medium eggplant, peeled, cubed and salted
about 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper (I used Kosher salt)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 can 15 oz of diced fire roasted tomatoes
2 cups uncooked brown rice
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 375. Heat olive oil in an oven-proof stock pot, and add eggplant, onion and red pepper.
Add fresh ground pepper to taste. Cook until the veggies get somewhat tender like this:
Add fire roasted tomatoes, rice, cumin, broth and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and place in the oven. Bake for about 35-40 minutes. Stir the rice mixture, serve and enjoy.
It looks like this after you serve your family and then remember to take a picture ;)
I was really pleased with how this turned out...and I'm not sure which culture to thank for this particular combination of flavors...perhaps it originated somewhere in the Middle East??? Anyway, it's a really good meatless dish, and so filling and flavorful you don't even miss the meat. A wallet and waist-friendly meal!