"If my cuisine were to be defined by just one taste, it would be that of subtle, aromatic, extra-virgin olive oil."
(Lebanese Eggplant and Chickpea Stew)
¼ cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 small bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium eggplant, diced
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoons crushed hot pepper
1 teaspoons whole cumin seed
1 cup water
4 cups diced tomatoes (about 4 medium tomatoes)
1 (15oz. can) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small bunch mint, chopped (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook for a few minutes while stirring, until the onion just begins to brown.
Add the garlic and the diced eggplant. Initially the eggplant will absorb the oil and begin to stick to the pan, it is for this reason you should stir nearly continuously for a couple minutes.
Once the eggplant softens, begins to brown, and releases the oil, add the smoked paprika, salt, hot pepper, and cumin seed. Cook the spices for a minute or two.
Stir in the water, tomatoes, and chick peas, and lemon. Bring the stew to a boil, then lower to a slow simmer. If it is too thick add additional water. Simmer the stew for about 30 minutes.
Stir in the mint and remove the stew from the heat. This can be eaten hot, room temperature, or even chilled in the summer months.