Syrian Aubergine & Chickpea Ragout
Syrian Aubergine & Chickpea Ragout

Syrian Aubergine & Chickpea Ragout

A winning combination of roasted aubergine and nutty chickpeas bound together in a sweet tomato and onion sauce enriched with herbs and spices, this is one of those Mediterranean dishes that is at its best when served warm or at room temperature. It's popular in both Syria and Lebanon, where it's served with warm bread as part of a selection of mezze, or with rice or as an accompaniment to roasted or grilled meat.

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Total Time
1 Hour plus 1-2 hours+ to set aside
2 medium aubergines (about 500g in total)
4 tbsp of olive oil
1 large onion, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
½ tsp of ground cinnamon
¼ tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
A generous bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
4 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
250g of cooked, soaked dried chickpeas, or the contents of 1 x 400g can, drained
2 tbsp of chopped fresh mint
Salt & ground black pepper
A generous bunch of fresh coriander/cilantro, chopped, to garnish
Warm bread, to serve
Plain yogurt, to serve
Step 1

Cut the aubergines into 2cm cubes, and toss in half of the olive oil, then spread out on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, turning the pieces over once halfway through cooking, until fairly soft. Set aside.

Step 2

Meanwhile, in a saucepan over a gentle heat, soften the sliced onion and garlic in the remaining olive oil, adding a couple of tablespoons of water if necessary to prevent browning. This should take about 20 minutes, until the onion is golden and melting.

Step 3

Add the spices and stir around for 1-2 minutes to blend the flavours, then tip in the parsley, chopped tomatoes and aubergine, followed by the drained chickpeas. Add about 200ml water, bring to the boil and then simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes.

Step 4

Take off the heat, stir in the fresh mint, adjust the seasoning and set aside for 1-2 hours before serving. In fact, the dish keeps perfectly well for a good 24 hours, and may even improve, and can be easily reheated.

Step 5

Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the chopped coriander and serve warm with plain yogurt on the side.

Recipe courtesy of Beans, Peas & Everything In Between by Vicky Jones, published by Ryland Peters & Small

Photography by William Reavell © Ryland Peters & Small.

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