This recipe is from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, one of my cookbooks in permanent recipe rotation. I love the cookbook because it is the first that I have owned (aside from Papa Tofu, another tome of excellence) that does not dedicate space to baked goods and desserts. Space that could be used for separate sections for curries, stews, and one-pot meals, which is what I’m interested in! Let’s face it: curry is a meal. Cookies are not. This cookbook is almost like Veganomicon-lite, with recipes composed of cupboard staples that are quick to throw together, minimal leftovers, and are delicious too-boot! There is even an entire section devoted to the greatness of a bowl. Not everybody appreciates the science behind a well-proportioned and thought out bowl of food, but this cookbook pays homage to that unsung everyday hero!
I have been to France more than once, and the best part of French cooking is the baguettes. Munching on a fresh baguette and an apple while wandering Paris while the city is waking up is one of my favourite memories of that gorgeous city. I am not a lover of crèmes, butter, or very rich food, which is what springs to mind when someone says “French cuisine” (or Julia Child!). I tried this recipe full of trepidation, and came away liking something other than baguettes! Spurred by my French-themed dinner and a movie (I’ve Loved You so Long, and a bottle of red wine), I gave this recipe a try because it had my favourite vegetable, eggplant, and a fail-safe legume: lentils. The dish itself is a boozy stew, with fennel, potatoes, and tomatoes. Spiced with marjoram and thyme, it is almost a French chili, which I can definitely get behind! The eggplant and potatoes soak up the delicate spices, making leftovers almost better than the day-of dish. Be prepared for sideways glances from co-workers if brining for lunch – the wine makes its presence known! Serve it with a simple spinach salad dressed with red-wine vinegar and olive oil, and the meal is a nice taste of the Mediterranean – perfect for a cold winter evening!