Eggplant Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses

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A few weeks ago I was wondering what to do with the end-of-season eggplants, tomatoes, and chiles from our garden and stumbled across this recipe from Food and Wine, which also calls for pomegranate molasses. The recipe comes from the coastal town of Antakya, Turkey. The ingredients are layered and not stirred, so the flavors of the different ingredients stay distinct. The stew is best when made ahead and allowed to mellow for a few hours before serving. I thought it needed just a touch of honey, which I will probably add next time.

Eggplant Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses Recipe

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  • Yield: Serves 6.

Ingredients

  • One 1 1/2-pound eggplant (or enough eggplants for 1 1/2 pounds)
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup brown lentils
  • Water
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 long green chiles, such as Anaheims—stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

Method

1 Partially peel the eggplant so it has lengthwise stripes, then cut it lengthwise into 4 slices. Score each slice on 1 side in a crosshatch pattern. Cut each slice crosswise into 3 pieces and set on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 1 hour.

2 In a small saucepan, cover the lentils with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the lentils.

3 Coat a small (3-quart) enameled cast-iron casserole with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. In a bowl, toss the onion with the garlic, tomatoes, green chiles, mint, tomato paste, crushed red pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt.

eggplant-lentil-stew-1.jpg
4 Rinse the eggplant and pat dry. Spread 1/2 cup of the vegetable mixture in the casserole and top with half of the eggplant. Cover with half of the lentils and half of the remaining vegetable mixture. Top with the remaining eggplant, lentils and vegetables. Pour the remaining olive oil around the side and over the vegetables, then drizzle with the pomegranate molasses.

5 Heat the stew until the liquid in the stew is simmering. Cover and cook over low heat until the eggplant is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

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Showing 4 of 31 Comments

  • Rick

    just this morning came across this recipe (it sounds great!) but am also wondering about the instructions to score the eggplant slices – which side of the eggplant slice is to be scored – is it the outside or the inside or does it make no difference? Thanks

  • Nancy

    Made this delicious meal for dinner last night — we really enjoyed it. I love pomegranate molasses — I purchase it from a local restaurant so I always have it on hand. I really like the addition of the lentils.

  • Sammy

    I’m slightly confused about the ‘bringing to the boil’ part for the very last step. I see no instruction to add water and it’s a bit worrying that the veg won’t have enough moisture. What should I do? Just put in everything with no water and turn on the heat? What is there to bring to the boil? Will the vegetables seep out enough moisture?

  • Lynn Sanborne

    Yum Yum. Made for my daughter in law who is a wegan (vegan on weekdays!). I made the pomegrante molasses from scratch. It really blends in with the flavors, so hard to distinguish but, added color for sure and some sweetness. It took much less than 1. 5 hours. Probably closer to 50 minutes. Also scorched the Le Crueset pot I used, so glad I was checking regularly.

    I also found the directions for the eggplant confusing, but just winged it and it turned out great. Used 1 jalapeno, because that’s what I had on hand and certainly didn’t use as much oil as called for. Served over Israeli couscous. Next time though would probably serve over brown rice for the chewiness factor.

  • Carol T

    Wow! I normally don’t like any type of stew but this is amazing. I don’t even think it needs honey. I made my own pomegranate molasses and cooked the whole thing in a stainless steel pot since I don’t own an enameled cast iron casserole dish. It was perfect!

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