This eggplant stew, a cross between a stew and hearty soup, is a quick, easy, healthy and delicious one pot meal. All you need for a complete meal is some good crusty bread. The recipe is written as the soup was prepared by my sister-in-law. See the notes below for some of my alterations and the similar and related recipes links for an equally delicious vegetarian version with mushrooms.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, more or less as needed
- 1 pound ground beef, about 90% lean
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 large eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 2 large cans (about 2-pounds each) whole tomatoes, chopped with juices
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano, more to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional garnish)
Heat a medium stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Add the ground beef and brown, breaking it apart as it cooks. Add onions and peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and cook about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until eggplant is very tender, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately, or keep over very low heat until needed, passing the Parmesan cheese separately.
Notes: You can use more or less ground meat. I usually substitute 93% lean ground turkey because I love the flavor. More eggplant can be added for a thicker stew, more tomatoes for a thinner stew, adjusting the seasonings as needed. Although it was not in the original recipe, I always add some minced garlic just before I add the eggplant to the pot. Sometimes, I add fresh basil at the end for a bright flavor addition. Obviously, this soup is extremely versatile. Leftovers are great and can be served as is or on pasta.