CP Nosh: Khoresh-e Bademjan (Eggplant Stew)

Photo by Øyvind Holmstad | Creative Commons

Welcome to CP Nosh – a delicious recipe inspired by this week’s show.
This week all of the guests took us to their favorite spots, and they were all really different from each other. From an island getaway to a Bellevue burger joint, we cruised all over the Pac NW. Because I’ve worked in the restaurant business for years, I know a lot of chefs and owners. It’s good fun to see people move in and out of kitchens and try their own things. I’m particularly thrilled about this show as it highlights Mamnoon, where my friend Garrett Melkonian is the chef.

Garrett is a food genius, so I won’t pretend to be able to stand up to anything he cooks, but the restaurant is Persian-focused and it’s some of my favorite food to eat. Several years ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing an amazing Persian home cook, Yvette Leland. She invited me into her home and cooked me tadik. Here, is another of her amazing recipes, originally published in Edible Seattle.

Khoresh-e Bademjan (Eggplant Stew)
Serves 4 | Prep time 45 minutes, plus braising time
from Edible Seattle January/February 2009

2 large eggplant, sliced
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium onions, cut in half and sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1.5 lbs bone-in chicken thighs
28oz can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 spoonfuls saffron water*
1 teaspoon advieh (see recipe below)
5 whole dried limes
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 egg whites, beaten
Canola oil for frying, about 1/2 cup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In colander, toss eggplant with a few tablespoons of salt to soak out bitterness. Set over sink of bowl and set aside.
Add the canola oil to a large ovenproof sauté pan or dutch oven. Over medium heat, add onions and sauté until just turning pale gold, six to eight minutes. Add garlic and sauté a few minutes more until soft. Add chicken thighs, turning once when browned, about eight minutes per side. Add tomatoes, along with their juices, advieh, saffron water, turmeric and dried limes to pot and cook for 10 minutes more, allowing flavors to blend. Set aside in an oven-proof casserole dish with a lid.
Rinse salt from eggplant, and pat dry between paper towels. In large sauté pan, add enough canola to cover the bottom of the pan by one quarter-inch, and place over medium heat. Dip eggplant in egg white, and fry in oil until golden brown, about six minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.

Place fried eggplant on top of chicken stew and put in the oven, covered, to braise for another fifty minutes to an hour. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. If you like a more sour sauce, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve with steamed basmati rice or a tadik.
In a low oven, this dish can hold for several hours.

Advieh-y Khoresh
2 tablespoons ground dried rose petals
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground angelica
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried Persian lime powder (limu-omani)

Mix all spices together until blended. Store in an air-tight glass container for up to three months.

*To make saffron water, dissolve 1 tablespoon ground saffron in 1/4 cup water. Store the excess in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Amy Pennington is the host of Check, Please! Northwest and a well-known ingredient in Seattle’s food and restaurant scene. She’s also the author of Urban Pantry, Apartment Gardening and Apples: From Harvest to Table, and the e-book series Fresh Pantry. Read more of Amy’s work at amy-pennington.com and connect on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

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