Saucy Roasted Eggplant (p.141) & Saucy Roasted Eggplant Pie

eggplants
This easy eggplant dish gets rave reviews at potlucks.  The cocoa is used as a subtle spice, but for a bolder chocolate flavor you can use 1/4 cup of cocoa powder and increase the sugar to one tablespoon.

Makes one 8 x 13-inch cake pan
Takes 60-90 minutes

1 eggplant (about 1 pound)
13.5 ounces of coconut milk (about 2 cups)
2 cups diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 teaspoons ras el hanout or garam masala
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Cut the eggplant into slices up to 1/4″ thick and put a single layer in the bottom of an oiled 8 x 13-inch cake pan.

Mix together the coconut milk, diced tomatoes, cocoa powder, ras el hanout, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.  Evenly distribute about half the sauce over the eggplant.  Add the remaining eggplant slices as a second layer, and then pour all the remaining sauce on top.

Roast until the eggplant is soft and completely saturated with the sauce.  This may take 40-60 minutes depending on your oven and the thickness of your eggplant slices.

Serve with a starchy food to sop up the sauce.

Fantastic burrito filling or bean dip: Keep any sauce that remains after baking.  Add the sauce to a couple cups of cooked black beans and heat it on the stove for 5-10 minutes.  If you mash the beans while cooking them, it also makes a great bean dip.

We used this recipe to make the filling for the savory pie we brought to Day #5 of Nine Days of Pie at Afru Gallery. It was a hit! We were informed that of hundreds of unique pies tried over the years, this was truly one of the best. High praise!

Someone asked Darin at the book reading today which chocolates he recommends as equitable. That’s a book of its own! [UPDATE: chocolates we have loved] However, Darin suggested Creo and Tony’s Chocolonely as a couple example chocolate companies he recommends to show the range of slavery-free chocolates that are sold locally. Here’s a blurb I thought was interesting from Tony’s Chocolonely’s FAQ:

Did you know that certified chocolate bars (e.g. Fair Trade) also contains non-certified cocoa – and vice versa? If you buy certified chocolate, you can be certain that somewhere in the world the quantity of certified beans needed to make your bar was purchased. It’s just not physically in your bar. It’s really not. We can tell you precisely where the cocoa in our chocolate comes from. We believe that traceability is a critical step toward 100% slave free chocolate.

Reminder: When making Saucy Roasted Eggplant, if you use a can of tomatoes, they’re typically pre-salted, so you can omit the called-for salt.

Saucy Roasted Eggplant Pie: Follow the Saucy Roasted Eggplant recipe above, with the following exceptions: Dice the eggplant into 1/2″ cubes instead of slicing it. It will only take up a single layer in the cake pan. That’s fine, just cover it with all the sauce. Dicing the eggplant means there’s more surface area. You don’t need to cook it as long; it took 35-45 minutes to soften in the oven we used – the goal is for it to provide almost no resistance when pierced with a fork. Remove the eggplant from the oven. Stir in two cans of beans (or four cups of cooked beans). We used one can of black and another of cannelini. Fills two standard pie shells.

If your pie shells don’t come with instructions, it’s probably sufficient to pierce the bottoms with a fork (after defrosting, if applicable), bake them at 350°F for 10-12 minutes, until they start to brown, take them out, add the filling, and bake them for another 10 minutes to help everything settle.

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