I was recently given a few aubergines, they weren’t glossy and perfect but they were perfectly usable if I didn’t mind a bit of waste. This was my cue to get chopping. With a beautiful, new (to me) Dutch oven I wanted to make my first use of a stew type dish was obviously in order. This is an indulgent version with red wine in the sauce and tinned cherry tomatoes but you could easily replace the wine with water or stock and the cherry tomatoes with ordinary tinned chopped tomatoes. Ramiro peppers often look expensive but if you can find somewhere which sells them by weight they tend to work out a lot cheaper than supermarket prices.
Ingredients (feeds three or four)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 white onion
- 1 large aubergine
- 1 red ramiro pepper
- 1 generous teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 125ml(ish) glass red wine
- 125g/4oz approx’ puy type lentils (or fill the glass you measured the wine in if you’re not then drinking from it)
- 1tin cherry tomatoes in juice
- water to cover
Put the oil in a large pan over a medium heat.
Roughly chop the onions and sweat in the oil with the garlic.
Dice the aubergine into roughly 1 inch cubes and chop the pepper into pieces about 1/3 the size of the aubergine chunks; add both to the pan, stirring regularly.
After about 10 minutes add the allspice and stir for a minute more. Add the red wine, turn up the heat and bring to a lively simmer until the wine is reduced by about 1/3.
Add the lentils, tinned tomatoes and enough water to just cover all the ingredients. Cover the pan and simmer over a gentle heat for 20 to 30 minutes (until the lentils are cooked), stirring occasionally. I usually uncover for the last 5 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit.
I normally serve this with rice, mashed potato, or crusty bread.