A French classic that makes eggplant into a tender, flavourful casserole.
From Damien Pignolet’s ‘French’ cookbook is this adaptation to his “Chicken with Escoffier’s Chasseur Sauce”. As meat-centred as French cooking traditionally is, I don’t believe we lose much by swapping out a few things for vegan alternatives.
Following is double the quantity of mushrooms and shallots, because I really enjoy these vegetables as a feature, not just as sauce.
2 small or 1 large eggplant
1 cup sliced button mushrooms (I like swiss browns)
2 tbsp macadamia oil (for it’s buttery taste, but olive oil will do)
2 shallots or eschalots, finely chopped
100ml dry white wine
200ml vegetable stock (I like the ‘chicken style’ Massel stock)
100ml crushed tomatoes (typically from a can, in my kitchen, until I can grow them reliably)
3 tsps finely chopped parsley
about 2 tbsp spelt or kamut flour (or ordinary wheat flour if that’s what you have on hand)
salt and pepper
extra macadamia oil
Slice the eggplant into 1cm slices and sprinkle with salt to extract the bitter juices. Leave to one side while you chop and measure everything for the sauce.
Preheat the oven to 150 Celcius.
Rinse the eggplant slices and cut into large chunks. Dry with a clean tea towel (often I just squeeze them lightly in my hands, instead).
Toss the eggplant chunks in the flour along with the salt and pepper. Fry them in macadamia oil until lightly golden on all sides.
Transfer the eggplant to an oven-proof dish (or dishes, if creating single serves).
To make the sauce, saute the mushrooms and shallots in more macadamia oil, in the same pan the eggplant was fried in, until lightly coloured.
Add the wine, and reduce my half.
Stir in the crushed tomatoes and the stock, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Then finally stir in the parsley.
Pour the sauce over the eggplant and put in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.
I serve this with Basmati Rice Pilaf and steamed greens. The eggplant is super-tender and the flavours are very comforting and savoury. Delish.