Puy Lentil and Aubergine Stew

As I’ve previously mentioned, aubergines never used to be a big staple in my cooking. I did not grow up eating a lot of them and hence very few of my recipes in the family cookbook feature them. Having cooked quite a few dishes from SIMPLE now that with this vegetable as their star ingredient I must reconsider: their taste and versatility in a lot of different dishes have definitely impressed me have shown me what a fool I’ve been!

The puy and aubergine stew is another dish with aubergine as its star ingredient. And right off the bat I can say that this is probably is one of my favourite new recipe to make from the book. I cannot overstate how excellent and incredibly easy it was to make all at the same time.

The result reminds me of a mix between a nice and slow-cooked ratatouille and a hefty German lentil soup. I’m sure that’s not what Ottolengthi intended when the recipe was conceived but it works for me.

I must also say that the added Urfa chilli flakes give a very interesting spicy contrast to the zing from the creme fraiche. These chilli flakes are markedly different from the “regular” chilli flakes I normally find at the supermarket: while they provide spice levels they also seem to come with a certain level of depth and smokiness that I did not expect from a chilli — almost as if a fresh chilli had been preserved over a very long time. I’m looking forward to trying them in different recipes in the future.

It comes as no surprise that I will absolutely make this again: this is an excellent example of where the result is far great than the sum of its parts. Who would have thought that throwing together some aubergine, tomatoes and stock would result in such a delicious stew? Not me — that’s for sure!

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