I have a confession. I just learned about the ethnic cookbook section of my local public library. 😦 Seriously. I don’t know why but I never thought to peruse the library for that kind of stuff. Doh!!
It makes it even more “DOH!” when I say that I LOVE ethnic food. I love eating it, I love trying to cook it, I love learning about the unique ingredients. I’m a little bit of a junkie. So having this free resource of any culinary ethnicity you could dream of, right at my finger tips, it’s like a 13-year-old boy finding dads porn stash. Goooood stuff.
I’ve been drooling over Persian fare ever since Caspians in Minneapolis. That there is some good shit. Subtle, comforting, warm, easy to eat. So when I saw a cookbook on Syrian, Turkish, Greece, and Lebanese, I felt like this was a good next step and I snatched up a copy of “The Ottoman Kitchen”. Ooooh yeah. Just what I was looking for. Eggplant 🙂
If you’re not familiar with middle eastern cooking, those beautiful people put eggplant in EVERYTHING. Sauces, stews, they stuff it and fry it and roast it. Yum.
I found this recipe for Eggplant and lamb güveç. Simple, fresh, and something I knew the kids would like (which would open the door for more experimentation). It also didn’t contain grains, which is a huge bonus. The butter/ghee makes for a beautiful silky base. The combination of veg and herbs satisfies every flavor family leaving you completely comforted.
There were a couple things that I wanted to tweak right off the bat, but I don’t think it changed it enough to write home about. It did make it paleo and Whole 30 friendly though 🙂 Feel free to replace the ghee with butter and the date paste with honey, if that’s in your diet!
Without further ado…
C’s Whole 30 Eggplant Güveç
1lb of eggplant
1lb beef stew meat
1 large onion, chopped
4 tbsp ghee, divided
2 bell peppers
3 large beefsteak tomatoes, quartered
1 tbsp date paste
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Handful of fresh parsley
Peel your eggplant and slice the long way four equal times. Turn and slice into 1″ pieces. Place cut eggplant into a colander, toss with salt, and set in the sink to drain 30-45 minutes.
In a heavy bottomed pan (I use my cast iron dutch oven) melt ghee over medium heat. When melted, add chopped onions and saute until onions are soft and golden. Add meat and cook until meat is browned on all sides and liquid has evaporated. Remove from pan and set aside.
Next, rinse eggplant and pat dry with paper toweling. Heat about 3/4 of an inch of olive oil in clean frying pan. To ensure the eggplant doesn’t absorb too much oil, make sure it is very hot. Fry eggplant in batches, browning each side. Remove from pan and set on paper towels to drain.
Return heavy pan to medium heat with remaining 2 tbsp ghee. Hurl, yes, according to the cookbook, you hurl in the peppers and cook until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and date paste and cook until the tomatoes start to break down.
Mmmmmm. Damn good grub. Enjoy!