I know that Rachel Ray is quite the controversial figure in the cooking world. To that I say,whatever. I’ve been given three of her cookbooks and sometimes I find yummy sounding things (personally I have no problem ignoring the goofball names, plus I have my own goofball side, so who am I to judge?). I was lamenting the lack of eggplant recipes in my cookbooks as I was flipping through cookbooks trying to figure out what to do with my two, yes two, new eggplants from this week’s share. I grabbed Express Lane cooking, cursed the index (no eggplant listed) and then noticed a post-it note marking a recipe I wanted to try sometime. That recipe was Provencal Vegetable Stew – which calls for 1 eggplant (I repeat cursed index)! It also called for mushrooms and celery so I had TheHusband grab some from the grocery store on his way home (he had just called and I still hadn’t figured out any other ideas for dinner). Of course it didn’t take 30 minutes. Maybe it would have if I had started timing things after I chopped all the veggies – I’m not the fastest chopper around, but I’m not painstakingly slow either. It took 45 minutes. And it was good, I’d make it again.
Provencal Vegetable Stew from Express Lane Meals by Rachel Ray
- big glug of olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped (or say 1/2 of a large one)
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 lb mushrooms, quartered if large
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 medium eggplant, chopped in 1″ cubes
- 1 T fresh thyme leaves, chopped (or 1 t dried thyme)
- 1 T fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1/2 c dry white wine (or dry vermouth)
- 1 14-oz can petite diced tomatoes
- a baguette or other crusty bread
Heat the olive oil in a big soup pot. Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic, mushrooms, celery, and bay leaf. Saute for a couple minutes (while you chop the eggplant and herbs). Add the eggplant, salt, pepper and herbs. Saute for about 15 minutes until the eggplant is soft, stirring occasionally. Add the white wine or vermouth and deglaze the pan (stirring to get any stuck bits loose). When that has cooked off add the tomatoes and heat through. Serve with a nice thick slice of crusty bread.