Italian vegetable & potato stew

Yield: 6 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1 large Eggplant; peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1½ tablespoon Fine sea salt
3 tablespoons Olive oil or more as needed
1 medium Onion; chopped
2 \N Celery ribs, with leaves; chopped
1 \N Green bell pepper; seeded and chopped
2 \N Garlic cloves; minced
3 mediums Boiling potatoes; cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1 can Unsweetened tomatoes in puree (28 oz)
1 cup Vegetable stock
⅛ teaspoon Red pepper flakes; crushed
½ cup Fresh basil; chopped, OR
1 teaspoon Dried basil
1 cup Mediterranean black olives; pitted and chopped

Place the eggplant in a colander and toss with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Let stand for 1 hour to draw out the bitter juices. Rinse well, drain and pat dry with kitchen towels.

Heat 2 tbs of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. (You may have to add a little more oil if the eggplant sticks). Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tbs oil in the pan, and add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved eggplant, the potatoes, the tomatoes with their puree, vegetable stock, the remaining ½ tsp salt, and the red pepper flakes; if using dried basil, add it now. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Stir in the olives and, if using, the fresh basil, and continue cooking to blend the flavors, about 5 minutes. Serve the stew hot, warm or at room temperature.

From DEEANNE's recipe files

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