New Year’s Day is saturated with traditions like the Mummers parade which is a local favorite of Philadelphia natives. New Year’s Day feasts often include foods that have been associated with good luck and good fortune . In Italy, lentils, which resemble coins, are often a part of an Italian’s New Year’s spread as they are thought to bring good fortune. Pomegranates are traditionally eaten in Mediterranean countries like Turkey as they have been associated with abundance and fertility. This stew combines Mediterranean flavors and includes both lentils and pomegranates (molasses). It is a wonderfully soulful one pot dish perfect for any day including New Year’s day.
Eggplant and Lentil Stew
- 2 pounds of eggplant
- 1 cup lentils
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1, 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped oregano
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
- 4 cups of vegetable stock
- Partially peel the eggplant so it has lengthwise stripes, and then cut into 1 inch cubes. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.
- In a dutch oven or heavy stock pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the onion with the garlic, green chiles and cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and crushed red pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add eggplant, lentils oregano, tomatoes, molasses and stock.
- Bring the stew to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the eggplant is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
Katie Cavuto MS RD