Southern-Style Eggplant and Potato Casserole with Chickpeas

Eggplant and Potato Casserole

I was never really crazy about eggplant until a few years ago, but now I often find myself drawn to recipes that showcase this versatile vegetable. Although it doesn't have much flavor in itself, it becomes spongy when cooked and beautifully absorbs fragrant spices and melds well with the other components it's combined with. Those that think they don't like eggplant are very likely to change their mind after feasting on this casserole.

Essentially a vegetarian version of "Country Captain", a popular curried dish in the Southern states that usually contains chicken and is served with rice, eggplant is here used in place of the chicken. The Indian influence is obvious. How could I resist spiced up eggplant with loads of vegetables and chickpeas? Often made on the stovetop, this one is baked. As this is one of the coldest winters I can remember, I have been looking for lots of excuses to turn on the oven these days.

vegetarian country captain

I almost decided to skip the almonds, due to laziness on my part, but I'm glad I didn't, as they are an ideal garnish for the casserole for textural and nutty contrast. I used my own vibrant blend of curry powder. I suggest you try it as it's easy to make and will keep for a good few months in a well-sealed jar. I've also included some homemade fiery curry paste, but that is optional. As a spice fiend, I added it for some extra kick. Traditionally, Country Captain is served with rice, but I thought some nutty quinoa was a perfect substitute.

eggplant casserole with chickpeas


Southern-Style Eggplant and Potato Casserole with ChickpeasSouthern-Style Eggplant and Potato Casserole with Chickpeas
Recipe by
Adapted from The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook
Cuisine: Southern
Published on February 3, 2014

Rich and savory baked chickpea and potato stew with eggplant and curry spices

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Paste:
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 to 4 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 jalapeƱos, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • zest from 1 lime
Casserole:
  • 2 tablespoons butter or oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 13 1/2 ounce (400 mL) can coconut milk
  • 1 cup water or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (2/3 cup dried or 1 19 oz can)
  • 2 teaspoons red chili and vinegar paste or other hot curry paste (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 medium eggplants
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup almonds, slivered and lightly toasted, for garnish
  • chopped fresh parsley or cilantro, for garnish
Instructions:
  • Blend together the paste ingredients in a food processor until smooth — about 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Heat the butter or oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Toss in the ground coriander, ground cumin, paprika, tumeric and curry powder, and stir until fragrant — about 1 minute. Pour in the paste from the food processor and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed and you are left with a fairly thick paste — 10 minutes.

  • Stir in the coconut milk, water or vegetable stock, chickpeas, chili or curry paste if using, sugar, salt, cinnamon stick, raisins, potato and peppers. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Preheat an oven to 350°. Trim the edges of the eggplant and cut into generous 1/2-inch thick slices. Season both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the slices in a 13 × 9 inch casserole dish. Discard the cinnamon stick and ladle the sauce over the eggplant slices. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 60 minutes.

  • To serve, dish out one or two pieces of eggplant and spoon some sauce on top. Garnish with some almonds and fresh parsley or cilantro and serve with rice or quinoa on top or on the side.

Makes 6 main servings

eggplant casserole

I'm submitting this to Jac's Bookmarked Recipes.

More dishes featuring eggplant from Lisa's Kitchen:
Baked Eggplant Stuffed with Curried Vegetables
Eggplant Quinoa Bites with Pesto
Stuffed Eggplant Poriyal

On the top of the reading stack: Cooking Inspired by Estee Kafra

Audio Accompaniment: Marsen Jules

6 comments:

Francesca said...

yum, this looks fabulous. And definitely serve it with rice. Quinoa just wouldn't do.

Deena Kakaya said...

Love the colour and thickness of that gravy x

Joanne said...

I'm definitely craving a big veggie casserole like this now! I am shocked that this was in a cookbook about southern food, though! Hmmm must check it out.

Lisa Turner said...

It's a great book Joanne. I have made several dishes from it. Quite unique.

healthableoldsoul said...

Potatoes are ingredients that always catch my eyes.

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

I'm loving this meal and just look at the colours. Gorgeous!I actually really like aubergine. Oh and the Bookmarked Recipes Roundup is live. Shockingly late, but up.