Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bohémienne (Provencal eggplant and tomato stew)

The sun is back! The sun is back! Hooray! Hooray! The sun is back!!!

And that means I'm in the mood for sunny recipes :)

Bohémienne is a provençal dish (from the south-east Provence region of France). It's quite similar to Ratatouille, a summer vegetable stew from the same region, only it only contains eggplants and tomatoes.
It is absolutely delicious as an appetizer on bread, or with eggs (any style), as a side vegetable for lamb chops, sausage, fish, and really just about anything! Oh, you can also have it for breakfast, or even use it in burgers in lieu of caramelized onions.

It's a very versatile dish. It stores very well and is delicious. Try it, and let me know what you think!

INGREDIENTS (makes a lot! enough to fill 3 large Mason jars)
- 6 large eggplants, peeled, cubed, salted and drained
- 6 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cubed (save the strained juice)
- 8 salted anchovies in oil
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp AP flour
- about a 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 2 cups of broth (beef or chicken) (not pictured, I added it on a whim while I was cooking)
- water to thin down the stew if it gets too thick

- heat the oil in a large deep pot and saute the eggplants in batch, until golden and reserve on the side

- in the same pot, saute the anchovies and add the onions. cook until slightly golden, and add the tomatoes, tomato juice and garlic. cook until soft.

- after a few minutes, add the eggplants and bay leaves and a cup of broth. Sprinkle generously with pepper and simmer for about 30-40 minutes on low heat

Note: stir often, and make sure that the stew doesn't dry. Add broth and/or water to prevent sticking.
- after 40 minutes, add the flour mixed with a little broth or water, stir and cook for another 45 minutes until it becomes a beautiful caramel color. Make sure to stir often, or it will stick to the bottom!

- pour in sterilized jars or eat within 3-5 days. Keep refrigerated.

- I like it best cold, the day after: I think the flavors have time to blend together. It is absolutely delicious on toasted bread.

- I made rosemary-garlic bread crostinis from a stale loaf of bread I got on supersale at the supermarket: sliced the stale bread really thin, and dried the slices in a warm oven for about 10 minutes. A spoonful of Bohémienne on that, and you'll be happy!

Bohémienne. Or summer in a jar.

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