Beef and Eggplant Stew (Greek - Crock Pot Version)
This is a delicious Greek stew that I have adapted for the crock pot. The spices give it the characteristic Mediterranean flavour and the sauce is divine. The eggplant will be very soft, and some pieces may even have melted into the sauce. This is terrific served over a thick pasta, like penne or rigatoni.
- Ready In:
- 8hrs 25mins
- 2 lbs lean stewing beef, cut in 1 1/2 inch chunks
- 2 medium onions, sliced thin
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- 8 Japanese eggplants (the long, thin, striated white and purply ones)
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 (1 lb) can tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 3⁄4 teaspoon sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1⁄8 teaspoon allspice
- 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1⁄4 cup minced parsley
- 1⁄2 cup cubed feta cheese (optional)
- Wash the eggplant, then top and tail.
- Don't bother to peel, just cut into 1 inch thick segments.
- In large skillet, brown the beef, onions, garlic and eggplant in olive oil until dark golden-brown; drain.
- Place in crock pot.
- Combine the beef stock with the tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar, spices, and salt and pepper to taste, and stir it into the meat.
- Cover and cook on low heat for 8-10 hours.
- If serving with pasta, prepare pasta until al dente, pour onto a large serving platter and cover with meat, eggplant and sauce (you may add the feta- it is delicious).
- Sprinkle minced parsley over.
- If serving on its own as a main course, garnish with parsley and feta, serve with a green salad, lots of crusty bread (the sauce has to be mopped up!), and plenty of red wine.
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I made tons of substitutions but i just wanted to say that i never knew that adding cinnamon to tomatoes gave such a mellow, deep flavor that is perfectly balance by the feta cheese. I have served it over pasta, and soft polenta - and polenta is my preference. I used jarred tomato sauce with italian sausage because i didn't want so much meat .. (among other things) - this also makes me think i might be able to finally really enjoy eggplant.
Very tasty, and I loved how the eggplant disintegrated to make the sauce even more rich and sumptuous. I used a very large "Mediterranean" eggplant, cut it into 1" slices and then cut those into 1"x2" chunks. A word of caution, however - when browning the eggplant, it would probably be better to use a non-stick pan. I browned the eggplant after I browned the beef in my stainless steel Texas fry-pan, and the eggplant stuck a fair bit. I deglazed with some beef stock and got the nice brown bits, but it could easily have burned. I also thought that 1/4 cup of olive oil seemed excessive until I started browning. Do yourself a favor and ration it out so you have enough to brown the eggplant after the beef!! I will definitely make this again :)
We have two schools of thought in our house when it comes to stew. My husband loves traditional beef stew. I don't. With that, I made this stew. I thought it was terrific. My husband - not so much. He said it was too sweet. I followed the directions precisely. I did sub the Japanese eggplant for a regular eggplant. Otherwise, followed it the same. It was completely and utterly delicious, I thought. I thought the feta added a lot to it, as well. I might try it again and eliminate the sugar. Overall, it was great. I'd give it 5 stars if DH loved it too..