what to do with the eggplant.

The age-old dilemma. What to do with the eggplant. Sounds obvious, right? Eggplant parmesan. That was my plan, at least, when I bought three organic eggplant at the farmer’s market a couple of weeks ago. But then, Al threw a [ridiculously delicious] wrench in my plans when he whipped up a delicious spaghetti with meat sauce early that week. Not that it would be the end of the world to eat the two in one five-day span, but after eating one pasta dish with red sauce, I went on a search for another eggplant recipe on which to use my purple purchase.

What I came across was a sign. A true sign. On the very day that I was searching for new eggplant recipes, Deb at Smitten Kitchen posted this. Eggplant SOUP. And you KNOW how I love soup. And if you don’t know, what I mean by that is that I love soup A LOT. As in, it may or may not be my favorite part of Fall and Winter. Is that weird?

Anyway, I decided to make eggplant soup. In the end, I used Deb’s recipe as a starting place, and ended up with a giant pot of this:

And here’s the best part – it was awesome! It had a really distinct and unique flavor, unlike any soup I’ve cooked before, and we all (me, Alex, and our friend who joined us for the taste test – aka dinner) loved it. Alex cooked some spicy Italian sausage to add to his bowl, and we topped it with feta because we didn’t have any goat cheese on hand. In case you want to try it yourself and think I’m a total wacko because mine looks nothing like the smooth and silky-looking batch over at Smitten Kitchen, here’s what’s different.

1. I didn’t use roasted tomatoes. I don’t like the texture of chunks of tomatoes, so I used a small can of Muir Glen tomato sauce.

2. I didn’t blend the whole soup. I like my soups to be more stewy and super hearty so I used my teeny chopper to get things a little more paste-like but left everything pretty in pretty substantial globs. (My terminology is very precise here, in case you haven’t noticed. Teeeeeehehe.)

3. I skipped the cream.

4. I added leeks – mostly just because I felt like it.

5. I also added barley – which adds protein without many calories and sodium. Because of this, I also had to add water (on top of the chicken broth the recipe calls for) in order to make it soupy enough.

There you have it! I think everything else was pretty by-the-book – except that when I make soup I rarely follow exact measurements (unless the soup is supposed to be super-creamy or cheesy, then it’s important to do so). Anyway, it’s soup season. I hope you don’t mind me rambling on about these concoctions – because I’ve already printed off a slew of new recipes to try this year. Woo hoooo!

And so, the eggplant dilemma has been solved, at our house at least. Further suggestions for widening my eggplant repertoire are welcomed. :)

Happy Thursday!

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “what to do with the eggplant.

  1. Patty K.

    Well I would never skip the heavy cream!! I have another one for you:
    This is Giada’s Everyday Caponata, and I enjoyed it–I absolutely love eggplant!

    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 celery stalk, chopped
    1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    1 (14 oz) can diced maters w/juices
    3 TBSP raisins
    1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
    1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    4 tsps sugar
    1 TBSP drained capers (I didn’t- I don’t like them)
    1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
    1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
    Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

    In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over a med. flame. Add the celery and saute until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the eggplant and saute until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the red pepper and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, raisins, and oregano. Simmer over medium-low heat until the flavors blend and the mixture thickens, stirring often, about 20 mins. Stir in the vinegar, sugar, capers and salt and pepper. Add more to taste. Transfer the caponata to a bowl, garnish with basil leaves, and serve.

  2. Also being the lover of soup, I thank you for the recipe. How I wish I had an Al to whip me up some spaghetti. Oh, and I wish I had your dedication to making nutrient dense food. :)

  3. Love this, Nikki – can’t wait to fix it! Keep sharing!

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