Warm stew for a cold night

You know you’re getting old when ….

It was a popular statement around Christmas as friends and family opened presents, excited to receive things which, well, normally don’t score high on the thrilling scale. But then again, they are still toys to us, things we want that bring us some sense of joy, and so who am I to shake my head when a friend Tweets his excitement over getting a down blanket as a holiday gift. Especially since I was pretty excited to get a breadbox and slow cooker.

Eggplant and Chickpea Stew over quinoa.

Eggplant and Chickpea Stew over quinoa.

I had noticed a number of great recipes lately that involved a slow cooker. I had one years ago but it was clunky and annoying and I gave it away or lost it in one of my several apartment moves. I also tend to shudder at anything which makes large batches since I live alone and don’t want to eat the same thing for a week. But as I become more in tune with actually living my life rather than sitting around and trying to plan it, I’ve learned the benefit of having some healthy, homemade frozen meals stashed away and the convenience of leftovers.

Yesterday I broke in my slow cooker, modifying a recipe I found at Eating Well for Eggplant and Chickpea Stew. I served it over quinoa, but it would be great on its own, too. It was perfect for the cold winter night. I then portioned out leftovers and split them between the refrigerator (for the rest of this week) and the freezer (for later this month).

Eggplant and Chickpea Stew

  • 1 cup chopped baby bella mushrooms
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 large eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, rinsed and soaked overnight
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Peel eggplants and cut in half lengthwise. Brush the cut sides with 2 tablespoons oil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut-side down, and roast until tender, about 25 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Cut into 1-inch cubes and transfer to a 4-quart (or larger) slow cooker.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and the chopped mushrooms. Cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetable stock and chickpeas. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker and stir to combine with the eggplant.
  4. Cover and cook until the chickpeas are very tender, about 4 hours on High or 7 to 8 hours on Low. Stir in tomatoes and serve.
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