If you are looking for an interesting twist on beef stew, try this lamb version instead which features eggplant and tomatoes. Eggplant is a delicious vegetable that gives this stew a unique taste.
The eggplant originally comes from Asia. And although it has been cultivated since prehistoric times, it wasn't until around the 1500s that it was introduced into the western world by the Moors' invasion of Spain. Furthermore, trade among Europeans and Arabs around the 13th century helped solidify its introduction into Western culture.
The name eggplant came from its yellow and white color, which resembles a goose's or a hen's egg, as well as its characteristic shape. In fact, before the fruit was accepted as en edible food, the eggplant was grown primarily for its ornamental qualities.
The eggplant or "Solanum Melongena" is a member of the Nightshade family of plants whose members are potentially deadly to humans in small doses. For this reason, the eggplant used to be feared as poisonous, which in turn hindered its chances of widespread propagation.
There are several varieties of eggplants that differ in size, color and shape. Though eggplant can be white or green, the most commonly cultivated variety in the United States and Europe in the dark purple (almost black) version.
While the eggplant isn't really a vitamin juggernaut, it does have some nutritional merits. It is low in calories as well as sodium, while it can also be consumed for its mineral content. In addition, eggplant contains phytochemical monoterpene which is believed to be helpful in preventing the growth of cancer cells.
Although no a major source of protein or carbohydrates, eggplant does contain large amounts of soluble fiber which is beneficial in lowering cholesterol. Regular consumption of eggplant has been proven to reduce swelling, clear stagnant blood, reduce bleeding and treat dysentery.
On the other hand, eggplants, as most of its relatives from the nightshade family contain alkaloids as well as solanine (a calcium inhibitor). For this reason, some physicians suggest that patients with bone or joint problems eliminate eggplant from their diet for up to six weeks, until finally begin adding them one by one regulating their body's tolerance to them.
Eggplant is quite delicious whether you eat it hot or cold. Popular recipes for eggplant preparation include marinating, roasting, grilling, frying, as part of a casserole, in stews or even on brochettes. It also works well with tomatoes, onions, garlic or cheese. Here is one my favorite family recipes for eggplant stew.
Eggplant lamb stew
- 2 1/2 Tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder, chopped
- 2 large eggplants, peeled and chopped
- 4 large tomatoes, chopped
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Melt butter over medium heat in a large pot or deep skillet.
- Brown the lamb and then mix in eggplant, tomato, onion and garlic.
- Cook until light brown and tender.
- Add tomato paste and water to the pan and stir into the lamb.
- Season with salt and pepper and reduce heat.
- Simmer for 90 minutes to 2 hours, stirring occassionally.
- Shred lamb with fork while cooking and add water if liquid cooks away.
- Serve with crusty bread.