When it comes to aubergines, they are honestly one of my most favourite vegetables and one that seems to have a big divide in opinion after the love/ hate of marmite! So many people I say the word aubergine to are of the opinion that it’s a rather unpleasant vegetable to eat and it takes a lot of convincing that its just a special vegetable – treat it well and you are rewarded with a succulent, silky almost meaty flesh like ingredient. Treat it bad and its like eating a bathroom sponge soaked in oil and deservedly so. Aubergine flesh is great for soaking up flavours and it works a treat in this gorgeous rice dish!
I first discovered this Aubergine Jambalaya recipe via a link in a food forum I belong to, and it was featured on the Guardians website as a top ten Vegan recipe, from a Leon Fast Vegetarian cookbook (which is on my wishlist once I manage to sneak another bookcase into the flat!) and they have very kindly given me permission to reproduce it on my blog!
Despite having a well stocked store cupboard, its not often I look at a list of ingredients for a recipe and realise I gave everything actually in for once and so I bookmarked it for later in the week. It made a fantastic, tasty and something new dinner – I love making big one pot rice dishes and this fitted the bill perfectly both for a tasty after work dinner and cool for lunch the next day.
The recipe is stated as having Deep South; Creole roots, minus the meat – a whole new cuisine for us and now one I have a definite taste for and want to explore further! The smooth smoky chilli bite, with sweet peppers, silky aubergine chunks and little crunchy celery pieces and earthy herbs was a really good start to the week and even my meat loving man enjoyed this dish!
Serves 4 – generously
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bay leaf – mine are teeny dried ones, I used two
A pinch of dried oregano
A pinch of dried thyme – I used fresh from my neighbours garden
A pinch of dried chilli flakes
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
220g long-grain rice
1 medium sized aubergine, cut into 1cm dice
1 tbsp tomato puree – mine was a cherry tomato version
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
400ml vegetable stock – I used a tsp of Marigold vegetable boullion powder in boiling water
Salt and black pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large (lidded) saute pan and fry the onion, pepper and celery for about 5 minutes over a medium heat. Add the garlic, herbs and spices and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Stir in the rice, aubergine chunks, tomato puree and tinned tomatoes and stir well, season with a little salt and pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add the stock, bring to a simmer, then cover the pan and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to steam for 5 minutes. Use a large spoon to fluff up the rice and if you like then serve with a green salad. We had leftover bhajis!
With thanks to Leon Fast Vegetarian, by Henry Dimbleby and Jane Baxter