I try to make a vegetarian meal once a week. While I love my meats, red, white and everything in between, I think it is healthy to have a break from that form of protein periodically. In Lebanon, I grew up around Catholic friends who observed meatless Fridays. So, when I was invited over to their houses after school on those days I was always in for a treat, be it a lentil dish called Moujaddara, stuffed cabbage or grape vine leaves with rice and garbanzo beans instead of rice and ground beef, or a medley of vegetables slowly cooked in a minty tomato sauce called Maghmour.
I've been a fan of eggplant for as long as I remember. These days I keep an eggplant in the fridge as a staple. There are so many ways to skin an eggplant (!), so it never goes unused. Here I want to share how to make Maghmour so that you can try it one of these days as a meatless alternative. Granted you could add cubed beef to the mix (browned separately, then added), and I have had it that way and loved it, but below I share the vegetarian version.
To put this dish together you need:
- Carrots, one or two, peeled;
- Potatoes, one medium sized, peeled;
- Eggplant, of course!, one medium sized, washed but not peeled;
- Onion, half a medium one, or more if you like onions;
- Garlic, 4-5 cloves, peeled;
- Olive oil, 1 tablespoon;
- Garbanzo beans, 1 can, drained and rinsed;
- Diced tomatoes with juice, 1 can;
- Lemon juice, from one lemon;
- Mint, 1 teaspoon; and
- Water, 1/4-1/2 a cup
Chop all vegetables to about the same size cubes, for even cooking. Slice the onion, and crush the garlic on the cutting board leaving it almost in one piece.
Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add the potatoes and the eggplant. Sautee for a few minutes to get a head start. Add carrots. Sautee some more. Put onions and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add last five items, starting with a 1/4 cup of water first. If the liquid seems too little, pour some more in. Season with salt. Cover. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer for 20-30 minutes or until all the vegetables are cooked through and soft.
Serve warm or at room temperature. And, like most of my favorite dishes, you could serve plain whole milk yogurt on the side.