This dish has been a staple for us for a few years now and gets rave reviews from Andrey and other family members. However, while we were in Russia it was quite difficult to find eggplant, so it was somewhat absent from our table. Now that we are back and eggplant is easy to find I am excited to make it more often again.
It is a pretty straightforward recipe, but it takes a little time to cook everything down and meld the flavors. My favorite way to make it is on a relaxed weekend night with a glass of wine in my hand, but it will taste great any day of the week.
1 medium eggplant
1 large yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
1 can (15oz) tomato sauce
1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes
2 tbs dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp ground cinnamon
dash of chili pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
olive oil to cook the onions in
1. Begin by slicing the eggplant in half lengthwise and salting the inside. Leave it on a plate while you do the next few steps.
2. Diced the onion and crush the garlic.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large and deep saucepan. First add the onion and cook it, stirring occasionally until it is translucent. Reduce the heat to medium-low, then add the garlic and stir.
4. Once the garlic and onion are cooked add all of the spices except salt.
5. Turn the heat down to low, pour in the tomato sauce, and cover the pan.
6. Return to the eggplant and pour off any water that has collected on the top then gently squeeze it to remove excess water. Chop the eggplant into bite size pieces.
7. Add the eggplant to the pan and stir it in completely. Recover and let it cook on low for about 20 minutes.
8. Add the diced tomatoes and stir into the sauce. Let it cook for an additional 15 minutes.
9. Taste the sauce and decide if it needs additional salt.
At the end you will have a thick sauce full of eggplant. It is wonderful served over whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, or quinoa. I hope you enjoy this recipe and please let me know how your experience is in the comments!