Chickpea and Roasted Nightshades Stew

Rich, smoky, sweet, complex; this has it all.  Toothsome chickpeas baked with roasted tomatoes and eggplants into a sexy, saucy stew.  The spices are an exotic blend of South Indian sambar, some coriander, and more North African additions like paprika, apricots and prunes.  Serve it atop some couscous or dig in as is.

Yield: 9 or 10 cups depending on how much you reduce the sauce

What you need:

  • 2 large onions, finely diced, 2 cups
  • 3-1/2 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sweet brown rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  •  1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sambar powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1-1/2 cups roasted tomatoes (there are tons of recipes on how to roast tomatoes, just make sure that you omit any balsamic vinegar or spices – you want plain roasted tomatoes.  we always make a huge bunch when the garden goods come in and then freeze in small packages for use mid-winter!)
  • 1-1/2 cups roasted eggplant
  • 4 dried apricots, finely diced
  • 4 prunes, finely diced
  • 4 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seed butter
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seed butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided (or to taste)

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  When hot, dry-sauté the onion and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt together.  When browned to your liking, deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of the stock and the sweet brown rice vinegar.  Let reduce and when it begins to dry, add the tomato paste and spices.  Cook until darkened and fragrant, reducing heat and adding a bit more liquid as necessary.
  3. Add the roasted tomatoes, roasted eggplant, dried fruit, chickpeas, seed butters and remaining stock.  Add remaining salt.  Mix well and bring to a simmer.  Take a look at the liquid level, there should be room for reduction without sticking.  If it looks too dry, feel free to add some more stock or water – or perhaps a can of crushed tomatoes.
  4. Cover the Dutch oven and transfer to the oven.  Bake covered for 25 minutes.  Remove the pot from the oven, uncover, stir.  Taste for seasonings, adjusting as desired.  Return to the oven.  Bake uncovered for 40 minutes or so, until the sauce is thick and reduced and clings nicely to the beans.
  5. Remove from the oven and let sit 10 minutes or so before serving.

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