Khoresht-e Bademjan (Persian Eggplant Stew) | Shelbyville Multimedia

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Adapted from the film Welcome to Shelbyville
directed and produced by Kim A. Snyder

Khoresht-e Bademjan (Persian Eggplant Stew)

by Shaady Salehi

“Iranians are not used to preparing meals for vegetarians, but both were by far the most popular dishes of the night!”


My mom came out to visit me in San Francisco several years back and we hosted an Iranian dinner party at my house. We made this dish both in a veggie and non-veggie variety to accommodate my many non-meat-eating friends. Iranians are not used to preparing meals for vegetarians, but both were by far the most popular dishes of the night! The following recipe includes instructions for the meat version, but my preference is definitely the veggie.

Ingredients:
2 medium-sized eggplants, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
5 tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil
2 pounds beef or boneless-skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces (substitute with one more eggplant to keep it veggie)
2 cans (16 ounces each) of tomato sauce
3 dried limes or 2 fresh limes cut into 4 parts and seeded
½ cup of yellow split peas
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon saffron (optional)
2 cloves of garlic- chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Serves 6 people

Directions:
Step 1—Preheat oven to 400° F. Cover a baking sheet with foil. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with oil and place them on sheet. Cook for 20 30 minutes. You may also fry the eggplant slices; however, eggplant is like a sponge and it absorbs a lot of oil which will later shimmer on top of the eggplant stew.

Step 2—In a medium-size saucepan sauté onion and garlic in the vegetable oil until it is golden brown. Add meat and brown it on all sides. Add ½ cup of water, the tomatoes, limes, yellow split peas, saffron, salt and pepper, and turmeric to saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, for 45 minutes or till tender. (For veggie recipe, do all of the above minus the meat part.)

Step 3—Place eggplants in a deep baking dish, top with meat-sauce. Cover and cook for 45 minutes in preheated oven.

Serve this dish hot over white rice, ideally basmati or jasmine (which you can cook while the stew is baking in the oven).

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