eggplant & lentil stew

17 more days until baby!

Or tomorrow, or 5 weeks. Who really knows.

Yesterday my SIL threw a surprise baby shower that was SO adorable, very low-key, a vegan feast, and actually a complete surprise. The GS’ mom, aunts, and cousins came into town and spoiled us rotten.

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And clearly my SIL gets me because there was a subtle beer theme.

We keep going back and forth on feelings of preparedness but after yesterday I would say we’re in a pretty good place.

Except then we watched Seth Myers’ new comedy special on Netflix, Lobby Baby. If you’re not familiar, his wife literally gave birth to their second child in the lobby of their apartment building.

The GS was panicking. “What if this happens to you?! I can’t deliver the baby!!”

I calmly said, “There is a 0% chance that will happen to us.”

He replied, exasperated, “How can you be sure of that?!”

“Well we don’t have a lobby.”

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So while he’s reading up on emergency delivery, I’m making some soups that we can eat for dinner one night and then freeze the rest!

Eggplant & Lentil Stew

adapted from Food & Wine

2 medium eggplant

16 oz (about 3 cups) green lentils, rinsed

6 cups stock (vegetable if you’re making this vegetarian/vegan!)

2 tomatoes

15 oz can tomato sauce

1 medium onion, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup harissa

Greek yogurt & scallions, for serving

Heat the onion, celery, garlic and bay leaf in a saucepan (I use my Dutch oven for everything) in some olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. After about 6-8 minutes, add the lentils, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and stock. Bring to a simmer for about 45 minutes to fully cook the lentils.

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While this is happening, brush the two eggplant (fun fact: the plural of “eggplant” is “eggplant”!) with olive oil and stick under the broiler on a foil lined baking sheet, turning occasionally, until blackened.

You’ll know they are done when you hear a sound similar to a scream or someone’s last dying breath coming from your oven. Scared the shit out of me. Turns out it’s the eggplant bursting open.

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Once they have cooled enough to handle, cut them lengthwise and scoop out the flesh. Put into a fine mesh strainer and push out the majority of the moisture with a wooden spoon. Mix with the harissa, then add to the soup.

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Harissa is a North African hot chili pepper paste that you can find in your international foods section. It looks like this!

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As noted, the one my grocery store had was mild and really isn’t that spicy, so I ended up adding much more than the original recipe called for. If you can’t find harissa, you could try chili garlic paste or even just crushed red pepper flakes, but obviously you would use less. Do it to taste!

Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt, some chopped scallions, and some crusty bread. This is a great meatless Monday recipe and can easily be made vegetarian by using veggie stock, and vegan by omitting the Greek yogurt. It’s super hearty and filling.

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I froze two big containers of it that we’ll be able to defrost and reheat as easily as the GS can perform a home birth.

 

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