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Sephardic Eggplant Stew (Estofado de Berenjenas Sefaradí)

December 06, 2023
Sephardic Eggplant Stew (Estofado de Berenjenas Sefaradí)

Courtesy the author

Delving deep into my family’s Hebraic culinary lineage, I rediscovered this cherished recipe, a testament to the rich gastronomic traditions that have flowed through generations of Sephardic Jews spanning regions from Turkey and Greece to Morocco. This eggplant stew captures the essence of Sephardic flavors as it combines the velvety texture of sautéed eggplants with aromatic spices like garlic, coriander, cumin, and a touch of cinnamon. What makes this recipe particularly delightful is its adaptability. While it stands robustly on its own, it also pairs harmoniously with a range of Jewish recipes. Imagine serving it alongside delicacies like spiced lamb koftas, tangy tabbouleh, or even a spicy matbucha salad. My family typically complements it with freshly baked homemade bread, fluffy rice, or the distinctively textured corn arepas. The final touch of feta or beyaz peynir cheese, slightly melted or diced into the stew, elevates the flavors and adds a comforting creaminess, making this stew a heartwarming meal, no matter the occasion.

Ingredients

  • 2medium eggplants, around 1lb.
  • 1 ½cups feta cheese or beyaz peynir cheese, diced or crumbled
  • 1medium-sized onion
  • 2cloves of garlic
  • 1 ½teaspoon cumin
  • ½teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½cup + 3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 1bunch parsley, finely chopped to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  • Step 1

    Cut the eggplants into small cubes. In a medium frying pan, add the 1/2 cup of olive oil; when it is heated, add the eggplant and fry the cubes until medium-browned. Set them aside and let them cool to room temperature.

  • Step 2

    In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add three tablespoons of olive oil, cumin, onion, cinnamon, and garlic. Sauté for 5-6 minutes or until the onions turn translucent. Next, introduce the eggplants and continue cooking until they are soft and half-browned.

  • Step 3

    Turn off the heat and incorporate the feta or beyaz peynir cheese cubes. Stir gently, letting the warmth of the stew melt the cheese slightly. Sprinkle the parsley on top as a vibrant garnish.

  • Step 4

    Season to taste with salt and pepper, keeping in mind that feta or beyaz peynir cheese tends to be salty; therefore, it is important not to add too much salt.

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