What’s For Dinner?
Kyma's Slow-Cooked Eggplant Stew With Sweet Onions and Tomatoes
(First star is lowest, fourth star is highest)
FROM THE MENU OF . . . KYMA
3085 Piedmont Road, Atlanta
Q: I never enjoyed eggplant until I took my wife to dinner at Kyma and we ordered the eggplant stew. It seemed to be in a tomato base and was even better than excellent. Would you happen to have that recipe that you could share?
--- Charles M. Buckner, Jonesboro
A: Kyma's executive chef, Pano Karatassos, was happy to share the recipe. Lots of thyme and time bring out the deepest, richest flavor in this vegetable dish. Caramelizing the onions and cooking the eggplant take a while, but the rich flavor is worth the wait. It's so good you'll want it as a main course, but you could serve it as a side dish.
Hands on time: 1 hour and 30 minutes Total time: 2 hours Serves: 6
For the Stew:
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
5 medium sweet onions
(about 6 cups), thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3 1/2 pounds Japanese eggplants, cut diagonally 1-inch thick
Freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, halved
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 1/4 cups tomato sauce, (recipe below)
1/3 cup chopped parsley
For the Tomato Sauce:
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes in puree
Pinch granulated sugar
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons oil. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and cooked down to about 1 cup, about 40 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in another large heavy saucepan over medium heat, add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Add the eggplant, 1 teaspoon salt and season with pepper. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and thyme and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is golden brown and cooked down to about 6 cups, about 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, drain on paper towels and cool.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a 2-quart casserole, pour in enough tomato sauce to just cover the bottom. Spread a third of the onions and then top with a layer of eggplant, using about 2 cups. Season with pepper. Cover eggplant with half of remaining sauce, half of remaining onions and another layer of eggplant. Season with pepper. Top with remaining sauce, remaining onions and remaining eggplant, arranging slices decoratively. Season with pepper.
Cover casserole and bake 20 to 30 minutes or until extremely hot. To serve, garnish with parsley.
For the Tomato Sauce:
In a medium saucepan over high heat, add oil. Once oil is hot, add the onion and cook until translucent and golden. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar, bay leaf and oregano, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf, and run sauce through a food mill or puree in a blender.