Garage Sale Stew
One Saturday, in the early 1990’s my mom and I drove to San Jose for a day of shopping and randomly stopped at a garage sale along the way. We’d left fog for a glorious bright and sunny San Jose day. I don’t recall the address or if we purchased any garage sale items; but I do remember the lunch being eaten. Two sisters and their mom were eating big bowls of a savory stew with spoons while using chunks of bread to capture the broth. The stew smelled divine and looked home made. When I just couldn’t stand it anymore, I asked what they were eating. I was told it was an vegetable and eggplant stew that had been made that morning by their Greek grandmother. Although I couldn’t get the recipe, as Grandmother made it from memory, it contained eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes and feta cheese sprinkled on top. I added the garbanzos, fresh herbs and composed the savory base. This recipe is recalled and adapted from that encounter.
Recipe ingredients:1 large eggplant
5-8 small red potatoes
1 medium onion, dice
4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 28oz can whole tomatoes
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
½ t dried oregano
½ C feta cheese, crumbled
3 C Pacific Natural Foods Vegetable Broth
Fresh basil, cilantro or parsley for garnish
salt & pepper
Crusty bread, optional
Cooking instructions:1-Prepare Eggplant: Slice in rounds 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle salt on both sides of each round. Let rest, for 20 minutes. Rinse well, pat dry, cut in 1inch cubes. In batches, sauté the eggplant in a single layer on medium high heat in olive oil until just browned and cooked through. Remove eggplant from pan, set aside.
2-Prepare Stew: Sauté onion in olive oil, when almost translucent, add chopped garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes more. Add entire can of tomatoes with their juice. Crush tomatoes into chunks with back of spoon. Add dried oregano. Dice scrubbed potatoes into ¾ inch cubes (a bit smaller than the eggplant), add to stew. Add enough Pacific Natural Foods Vegetable Broth to cover the potatoes. Simmer until potatoes are tender.
3-Finish stew: When potatoes are cooked, add the drained garbanzos. Add Pacific Natural Foods Vegetable Broth as needed to keep the stew covered in broth. After garbanzos are heated through, gently fold eggplant into stew. Salt & pepper to taste.
4-Plate stew in wide bowls, garnished with crumbled feta and fresh herbs. Serve with additional feta and warm bread for dipping into the stew.