This stew is inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine—pomegranate molasses, saffron, cardamom, and more. It smells absolutely heavenly while it’s cooking! The flavor is warming, slightly tangy, and totally comforting all at once. And it tastes delicious served over a bed of fluffy couscous or short grain brown rice.
Pomegranate molasses is a common ingredient in Persian and Mediterranean cuisine. Everything about it is AMAZING. As I have mentioned in previous posts using pomegranate molasses, you can use store bought or make your own from scratch for this recipe. I love it in stews, salad dressings, and drizzled on top of food.
Saffron is also a favorite flavor enhancer. It’s hard to describe the flavor (honey-like? slightly bitter?), but I like adding it to stews to create a rounder flavor. Whatever you do, do not skip using it in this recipe. It is a nice counter to the salty miso and the sweet tangy pomegranate molasses.
Slow Cooker Middle Eastern Chickpea Eggplant Stew
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tsp olive oil
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp garlic powder
½” X ½” piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 29 ounce can of tomato puree
Pinch of saffron
2-3 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tsp red miso
2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large eggplant, cubed
2 cup fresh spinach
Prepared couscous or short brown rice, to serve
1. In a large, heavy pot or dutch oven, add onions, garlic, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes or until onions are soft and a bit golden. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, cumin and garlic powder and sauté another 2 minutes over low heat. Stir in the minced ginger and sauté another minute. Add the tomato puree, saffron, soy sauce, miso and pomegranate molasses. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes.
2. Add the sauce, eggplant and chickpeas to the slow cooker and stir until well combined. Secure the lid, and cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours.
3. Remove the lid, stir in the spinach until it wilts. Taste, and adjust seasonings (does it need more soy sauce? more pomegranate?). Serve over couscous or short brown rice.