Sunday, February 25, 2018

Eggplant Paprikash

Hello, and thank you to any of my faithful followers checking in, and likely wondering if I was ever coming back. I’ve not given up on the blog, there has just been a lot of living life and shifting priorities. I do plan to keep working through the book, one recipe at a time, and hopefully I’ll pick up the pace a bit! I couldn’t have been more pleased with my come-back selection of “Eggplant Paprikash”, (page 321). I admit to not always being a fan of eggplant, but over time I have come to enjoy it more, finding particular recipes where this humble vegetable really shines. This recipe is definitely one of those. According to the headnotes, this Hungarian dish is traditionally made with chicken, sour cream, and bacon drippings. In this rendition, the eggplant stands in for the chicken, vegan sour cream easily replaces the dairy version, and liquid smoke provides the bacon flavor. I have actually been making my own soy-based yogurt using the yogurt setting on my Instant Pot (see one here) and a vegan starter from Cultures For Health (find them here), which stands in perfectly for sour cream, and is free from additives and oils. Today there are several vegan sour cream and yogurt products commercially available as well, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding that.

If you’re like me, you might have thought the only way to make eggplant palatable was to drown it in oil, but this dish definitely proves that isn’t the case. Even though the recipe calls for two tablespoons of olive oil for sautéing the veggies, I just used a little extra broth instead and had excellent results. The dish consists of sautéed onion, garlic, eggplant, and bell pepper, simmered in a mixture of vegetable broth, paprika, and canned diced tomatoes, until the eggplant is tender. The sour cream and liquid smoke are added at the end, just before serving. If you like your food a bit more garlicky, as I do, you can add the garlic towards the end of the cooking time to preserve the flavor.

The end result was delectable!  I thought that the combination of such basic ingredients would be more pedestrian, but the complexity of textures and flavors definitely elevate this to a cut above the ordinary. I served it with a simple couscous pilaf and steamed kale.

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” checklist:
Replace the 2 tablespoons of olive oil with a small amount of broth.