Sunday, 31 March 2013

Recipe: Aubergines stuffed with chickpeas

Only after I wrote this up did I notice a very weak and accidental pun: this is a recipe for Egg Plant, and today is Easter.

Ingredients

3 Aubergines, about 20cm long
Lots of salt
5t Extra virgin olive oil
1 Onion, chopped (about 150g)
4 Cloves garlic, crushed
400g Tinned tomatoes
400g Tinned chickpeas
(preferably in plain water, drained weight = 250g)
60g Fresh coriander leaf, chopped fine
2T Tomato purée
3T Lemon juice
1t Salt
Ground black pepper, to taste)
(1T = one tablespoon = 15ml; 1t = one teaspoon = 5ml)

Method

Cut the aubergines in half and slice out the insides. Leave as little flesh as you can manage on the skins, but make sure the skins are still intact. Put the skins into a colander and liberally sprinkle with salt. Then chop up the inside flesh into pieces less than 1cm and put them in the colander too, sprinkling them with salt as you go. The salt draws out the bitter taste from the aubergines by osmosis, so leave the colander in the sink or on the draining board to drip while this happens. It takes about half-an-hour.

Thoroughly rinse the salt off the aubergine, then dry it off. (I would usually pat the skins dry with kitchen paper and centrifuge the inside flesh in a salad-spinner.) Fry the skins in the olive oil for a minute or two on each side so that they soften, then lay them them in a baking tin to fill with the rest of the mixture later.

Preheat oven to 200°C (= gas mark 6 = 400°F).

Peel and chop the onion. Crush the garlic. Fry the onion and garlic for 5 minutes or so, until brown. (You may need to add more olive oil to the pan: the aubergine skins tend to suck it up.)

Add the aubergine flesh to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes.

Drain the tomatoes and slice them up (about 5mm thick slices). Add them to the pan.

Drain the chickpeas and rinse them off in the colander. Add them to the pan.

Add the chopped fresh coriander, the tomato purée, lemon juice, salt and pepper to the pan. Heat the mixture until it is bubbling.

Pile the mixture into the aubergine skins and cook in the oven for 30 minutes at 200°C (= gas mark 6 = 400°F).

Discussion

This recipe is improved by using fresh tomatoes rather than tinned: remove their skin the usual way using boiling water, then slice them into 5mm slices sideways. However, that takes the overall effort just over the edge of what I can be bothered to do, so I tend to just use tinned tomatoes instead.

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