[Posting the recipe for K.]
Truly, this is the only civilized way to eat eggplant.
- Equal parts zucchini and eggplant. I usually use two small zucchinis and one moderate sized European eggplant. (Asian eggplants — the long skinny ones — are nice if you want to do the movie recipe, but I personally feel they have a bitter taste that detracts from the soup)
- One red bell pepper. (I started with green, but red is a nicer colour)
- A lot of garlic. I usually use between 1/2 head and a whole head depending upon the strength of the garlic.
- About 5-6 average sized tomatoes. There’s usually just slightly more tomato than eggplant.
- (Optional) One medium yellow onion.
- Some fresh herbs. Personally, I prefer some thyme and a sprinkle of basil.
- Generous salt.
- Some liquid, more about that later.
- Cut everything to about the same size and stir so that it’s well mixed.
- Add a little bit of liquid. Crockpots need some liquid to start, but only a tiny bit. I usually use a splash of red wine. Sometimes I use faux-chicken stock. By splash, I mean about a quarter cup.
- My crockpot had four settings, short, short and hot, long, long and hot.
I had the best results with long, next best with short and hot.
- Chop the onion first, and let it caramelize on a low heat while you cut the zucchini and eggplant.
- Turn up the heat to medium, and fry the eggplant/zucchini combo for as long as it takes to cut the tomatoes.
- Make a ‘hole’ in the middle of the mix, crank the heat, and toss in the tomatoes. Stir this for about 3 minutes. I don’t know why exactly, but I’ve always found that my sauces and soups are a little better if you fast fry the tomatoes. I think maybe it lets out the liquid.
- Add some liquid to the pot. A regular pot needs a bit more liquid, I used about a half cup give or take depending on how liquidy the tomatoes are.
- Add everything else and stir.
- Turn down to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes.
I read a recipe recently that suggests adding a bit of cayenne. This is totally awesome, and therefore is strongly recommended.
A french friend of mine, living in Vancouver, serves this dish over rice. I like this as well, but I think that my current coworkers would scoff. If you serve over rice, cut the veggies a little smaller.