Creativity in the kitchen is very useful, especially when surprise veggies appear at home.
This was supposed to be something else. I put on the shopping list a fennel, just one, because I got used to the ones I had in the past being so large. This time though, a tiny one showed up, accompanied by two cutest, little white eggplants. I often write “surprise veggie” on the list, just in case farmers bring something I did not think about, and this time the two white cuties were the surprise. Also, Hungarian wax pepper that I have not tried before was beautiful.
Thus, instead of the large fennel in tomato sauce that I planned, I improvised on the small one, the eggplants and the carrots that were meant for something else. The results was delicious.
1 small fennel bulb,
2 small white eggplants,
3 large carrots,
1 Hungarian wax pepper,
4 medium tomatoes,
2 cups pre-cooked chickpeas,
½ white onion,
6 cloves garlic,
1 heaping tablespoon paprika,
1 tablespoon dried basil,
1 tablespoon dried oregano,
1 heaping tablespoon potato flour,
2 tablespoons olive oil.
If you do not have cooked chickpeas in your refrigerator or freezer, you should plan ahead and soak them either the night before or in the morning (see: Learn to Cook – Legumes) if this dish will be for dinner. If you are cooking chickpeas at the same time as the veggies, I recommend putting them on before you do anything else, to give them enough time to cook. Start with high flame and uncovered, take the foam off, cover them, turn the flame low and cook until soft. I always cook legumes ahead, divide into 2 or 4 cups portions in glass containers and freeze, so I don’t have to cook them when I need them. I do not recommend using canned legumes, they contain preservatives, excess salt, and the can itself, in contact with food, is unhealthy.
Chop the onion finely and start frying in olive oil in a stainless steel pot or skillet (aluminum and non-stick cookware is unhealthy). Cut the carrots into thin slices, add to the onions and keep frying on low flame. Blend the tomatoes with garlic and potato flour and pour into the same pot. Add the spices, stir well and bring to boil.
Meanwhile chop the eggplants into small pieces. You need to do it pretty fast because they start oxidizing immediately and turn brown. Add them to the other ingredients right away. Cut the greens off the fennel (I threw them into my compost bin, they will go back to the nature, not to the garbage) and chop the bulb into pieces similar in size with the other veggies.
I deseeded the pepper because I wanted to save the seeds. However, the food was mild. If you would like a hot bite to it, I recommend leaving the seeds. Next time I will do it, too.
With all ingredients in, keep cooking it on low flame for about 15 minutes, until all veggies are soft. Add the chickpeas and wait a minute or two until they heat up.
Serve with brown rice or millet (see: Learn to Cook – Grains).