Eggplant, tomato and okra stew is a classic Southern dish, which probably owes its origins to the famous Mediterranean mélange ratatouille, a mouthwatering combination of eggplant, tomatoes, onions, peppers and often mushrooms and zucchini. Hence the name of this tasty variation. The secret to a successful result, even on top of the stove, is not overcooking the okra, which should be added after the other ingredients have melded.
- Medium (approx. 4 quart) slow cooker
- 2 medium eggplants, peeled, cut into 2-inch (5 cm) cubes, and sweated and drained of excess moisture
- 2 tbsp oil (approx.) 30 mL
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano 5 mL
- 1 tsp salt 5 mL
- 1⁄2 tsp cracked black peppercorns 2 mL
- 1 can (28 oz/796 mL) tomatoes with juice, coarsely chopped
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar 30 mL
- 1 lb okra, trimmed and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) 500 g lengths, about 2 cups (500 mL)
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1⁄4-inch (0.5 cm) dice
- 1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add eggplant, in batches, and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, adding more oil if necessary. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
- 2. Add onions to pan and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, salt and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes with juice and vinegar and bring to a boil. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
- 3. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours, until hot and bubbly. Add okra and bell pepper. Cover and cook on High for 30 minutes, until okra is tender.
- Okra, a tropical vegetable, has a great flavor but it becomes unpleasantly sticky when overcooked. Choose young okra pods, 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) long, that don’t feel sticky to the touch (if sticky, they are too ripe). Gently scrub the pods and cut off the tops and tails. Okra can also be found in the freezer section of the grocery store. Thaw before adding to slow cooker.
- An easy way to coarsely chop tomatoes while in the can is to use a table knife. Hold the knife vertically in the can and move from side to side, breaking up the tomatoes.
- Make Ahead
- Complete Steps 1 and 2. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, complete the recipe.
Judith Finlayson https://judithfinlayson.com/