Friday, April 17, 2020


Maghmour is known as Lebanese moussaka, and is a thick, smoky eggplant and bean stew packed with peppers, onions, tomatoes, smoked paprika and mint. I added a hefty pinch of pepper flakes to my version and served it over a rice and quinoa base for a hearty meal in a bowl that is the perfect comfort food in these troubled times.

While it may be Spring according to the calendar, it sure doesn't feel like it! Just yesterday while I was teaching (e-learning is going surprisingly well on my end any way) the kids and I all stopped for a moment to appreciate the blizzard that appeared out of nowhere and disappeared just as fast! The chill in the air also remained, although we are hearing that it will warm up eventually. Until then (and definitely until life gets back some semblance of normal), comfort food is on the menu. Mom is a huge eggplant fan and when I saw a recipe featuring it (and lots of other favourite Mediterranean things) I knew she'd adore it. Luckily, we have enough grocery stores near us that the wait is never too too long, but I still tried to keep the list to what was in our fridge and pantry (namely onions, peppers, tomatoes, chickpeas and grains) and throw as much flavour as I could at it. In this case, I am very lucky to have a well-stocked spice cupboard so things like dried mint and Aleppo pepper just are, but if you want to make this and don't have those things on hand either leave them out or throw thyme or basil or parsley at it - it will all taste good and you'll have a healthy meal on hand for when you can't be bothered to cook (or shop) again.

Like I said, this recipe is forgiving - don't have or want chickpeas? Use another legume (lentils, kidney beans) or swap them out for 3 cooked, diced chicken breasts folded in at the end. Or leave out the protein completely and serve it alongside - I've heard that it pairs well with pork tenderloin too.

Here's to better (and warmer) days ahead - we can only go up from here!

Serves 6 
2 tbsp olive oil (not extra virgin)
2 large, sweet onions, sliced
2 large Italian eggplants or 4 Chinese (long) eggplants, half-peeled and cubed
2 large peppers, chopped
5 large cloves garlic, minced
3 cups coked or canned chickpeas (I used a 28 oz can)
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes (optional)
1 tbsp dried mint
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

Cooked rice, quinoa, or a mix (for serving, I used this one)
  1. Heat oil in a large pot (I used my Staub) over medium heat and add the onions, eggplant and peppers.
  2. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and chickpeas and cook another minute, stirring well.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients (through broth) and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce to a simmer and cook 40 minutes, partially uncovered, until thick and fragrant, stirring occasionally.
  6. Serve over cooked grains and enjoy!

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