Lentil and Eggplant Stew

Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi

This is best made with puy/French lentils (the smaller, green-speckled lentils) but you can also use brown or black. Just don’t use red because they fall apart when cooked! Serve as it is, for a light meal, or bulk it up by spooning on top of slices of grilled or toasted sourdough. It can be served warm or at room temperature.

ingredients

4 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra for serving

3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced

1 medium red onion, peeled and finely diced

1/2 Tbsp fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dry)

Salt and black pepper

2 small eggplant (about a pound), cut into 2 inch x 1 inch chunks

1/2 pound cherry tomatoes (about half to three-quarters a pint, though add more if you want)

1 cup puy lentils

2 cups vegetable stock

2 cups water

1/3 cup dry white wine

1/3 cup crème fraîche, greek yogurt, or regular yogurt (optional)

1 tsp urfa chilli flakes (or ½ tsp regular chilli flakes)

2 tsp fresh oregano (if possible, if not substitute 2/3 teaspoons dry)

salt and black pepper

instructions

Heat half the oil in a large, high-sided sauté pan on a medium-high flame. Add the garlic, onion, thyme, and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and fry for eight minutes, stirring often, until soft and golden, then tip into a small bowl.

Put the eggplant and cherry tomatoes in a separate bowl and season with a quarter-teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper. On a medium-high flame, heat the two remaining tablespoons of oil in the same pan (don’t bother wiping it clean) and, once it’s very hot, fry the eggplant and tomatoes for 10 minutes, turning them often, until the eggplant is soft and golden-brown and the tomatoes are beginning to blacken.

Return the garlic and onion mixture to the pan, then add the lentils, stock, wine, two cups of cold water and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat to medium and leave to simmer gently for about 40 minutes, until the lentils are soft but still retain a bite (after this time, there will still be some liquid at the bottom of the pan, but that’s fine).

Serve the stew warm topped with a spoonful of crème fraîche or yogurt, a drizzle of oil, a sprinkling of the urfa chilli and the remaining chopped oregano leaves.

meal or course
dinner, lunch, main course, soup