Every now and again I decide to go all experimental in the kitchen and do one of those recipes that sounds interesting but like nothing I’d ever actually make. Also I just got a subscription to Eating Well magazine courtesy of an Amazon gift card someone gifted me.
Other fun facts that need to precede this post: I’m all bout one-dish meals. I think the crock-pot is an amazing and necessary tool. And I dig make-ahead meals because if I can make ’em ahead of my crazy-busy work week everything in the week will go just that much smoother (all of which you already know if you’ve read any of my cooking posts and/or ever had a conversation about cooking with me f2f).
That brings us to this dish: Eggplant and Chickpea Stew.
I read about this one, and it sounded cool, so I pinned it for later. Then, I was at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, and I saw some eggplants for sale. I remembered that I’d pinned this, so I snatched up an eggplant (buy and eat local!). Of course, I didn’t exactly remember the recipe, and I didn’t bother pulling out my cool new smartphone to check it, so I got one eggplant when the recipe calls for two. Whatever. It’s something new…who knows if we’ll like it?? So I decided to just half the whole thing.
But halving the recipe was not my only modification. I also remembered while at the grocery the next day that I needed chickpeas. I adore chickpeas, so I’m pretty use to grabbing a can or two for salads and stuff. Well. The recipe actually calls for dried chickpeas. No mind. It also tells you to soak them over night. Canned chickpeas are in some juice, so I figure that’s basically the same thing. Plus, it’s so much easier, right? Next up: mushrooms. My husband doesn’t like them. Won’t eat them. So naturally I took to Facebook to solicit feedback: “If you were going to make something that called for mushrooms, but your husband doesn’t eat them, what might *you* use instead?” I got LOTS of answers–everything from cheese to bacon to potatoes to “tiny cut up mushrooms and a good poker face” (possibly my favorite).
Probably the most helpful came from other people who cook far more than I do (one of whom is in culinary school). Jo K. said this:
Mainly the mushrooms are to create umami, that smoky savory flavor. You could try roasted eggplant or garlic, maybe a little soy sauce–something like that might give the same effect on the flavor balance.
And Baillee W. offered this:
If ur going for an earthy flavor, u can use a splash Worcestershire sauce.
Well, this recipe already has roasted eggplant as a main ingredient, and it already has garlic, so I went with Baillee’s idea and subbed in Worcestershire sauce.
By this point, I was bound and determined to get this eggplant chickpea party started, so I started pulling other ingredients out of their places. This brings me to my last modification: I used cinnamon powder, not a cinnamon stick because I wasn’t about to go out and buy some cinnamon sticks, and I don’t know who keeps those around the house (except maybe my MIL during applesauce-making season).
With all that said, here’s how it went: