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Today's special |  
Moroccan Chickpea Eggplant Stew

The cinnamon adds an unusual, slightly sweet flavor to this dish, making it a nice change from the Italian pastas and Chinese stir-fries that make up my usual dinner fare. I’m fairly fastidious about salting eggplant, since the one time I decided to take the shortcut, the eggplant was so bitter that my dish was inedible. If your eggplant is very fresh, however, you can probably omit the salting step and significantly reduce the preparation time. This dish, like most stews, tastes very good as leftovers, so I recommend making the quantity specified below even if you’re only cooking for two people (if you’re cooking for one, you can either halve the recipe or freeze extra portions). I like to eat it with couscous, but it would also make a fine topping for long-grained rice or pasta. Alternatively, you can scoop it up and eat it with pita bread wedges.


1 small-medium eggplant
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 c. vegetable stock
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
25 minutes (plus optional 1 hour salting time for the eggplant)

serves 3-4 

1. Cut off the ends of the eggplant, than chop into ¾" cubes. Sprinkle with salt and let drain in a colander for 1 hour. Rinse well under water and dry between paper towels. (You can omit this step if the eggplant seems very firm and fresh – salting will eliminate the occasional bitterness you find in eggplant).
2. Chop the onion roughly. Mince the garlic.
3. In a large skillet or a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, chili powder, cumin and cinnamon. Stir well to coat evenly. Cook until the onions have softened (approx. 4-5 minutes).
4. Add the eggplant, tomatoes and chickpeas, along with the stock. Simmer over medium-low heat, covered, for fifteen-twenty minutes (until the eggplant is tender).
5. Uncover and stir. If the stew looks very soupy, let the liquid bubble away for a few more minutes.
6. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over cooked couscous.

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