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Caponata aubergine stew

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This classic Mediterranean aubergine stew, caponata, is as tasty as it is versatile. Serve hot with couscous or crusty bread, as an accompaniment to lamb or chicken, or have cold with salad or crostini. Packed with vegetables, it’s a great way to contribute to your five a day without realising you’re being healthy.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 2 aubergines (500g), cut into 1cm cubes
  • 2 tsps salt u 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 6 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp finely grated dark chocolate
  • 50g sultanas u 2 tbsps baby capers
  • 50g stoned green olives, sliced
  • Parsley or mint to garnish

Method:

Step 1: Put aubergine in a colander and add salt. Leave to drain for 30 minutes, rinse and pat dry.

Step 2: While the aubergine is salting, heat half the olive oil in a saucepan. Add onion, celery and garlic and fry gently for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice and simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 3: Add balsamic vinegar, sugar, chocolate, sultanas, capers and olives. Simmer for 5–10 minutes, stirring often. Turn off the heat.

Step 4: Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and then fry the aubergine for 5 minutes until golden. Add to the tomato sauce. Return to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes then remove from heat, cover and allow to cool. Serve straight away or leave for a day to deepen the flavours. Sprinkle with parsley or mint before serving.

From River Cottage Veg Every Day! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (£25, Bloomsbury)

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