Stewed eggplant with sweet rice (vegan!)

Eggplant are in season. We’re eating them stewed.

Chop two large eggplant into half inch cubes.

Chop a large onion. Fry it in a generous portion of olive oil.

Add herbs. Tonight’s: oregano, a head of garlic, a bit of paprika. Last night’s: a touch of cinnamon, paprika, oregano, dill. Fry them into the onion, then add the eggplant. Let the eggplant brown slightly, then add two large cans of tomatoes, or a couple pounds of fresh tomatoes. Add a spoonful of sugar, possibly some balsamic vinegar.

Let this cook down. It’ll stick slightly. If so, it’s caramelizing, and that’s just what you want. Don’t let it stick too badly, but it should sizzle when you stir it down to the bottom of the pot.

Let it cook until it’s a thick paste. It won’t be smooth, but it’ll be a really rich spread.

Cook rice, I used a short-grain white rice.

Rehydrate some raisins. Drain them.

Fry a half an onion in a frying pan. Let it start to caramelize and brown. Add a half teaspoon of tumeric and a teaspoon of paprika.

Add a tablespoon of sugar. Let it caramelize slightly. Add the rice, the raisins, and a tablespoon of poppy seeds. Salt just a little.

Serve side by side, let the flavors contrast. The intense richness with the velvety texture of the eggplant, with the sweet chewiness of the rice and raisins. The bright yellow-orange of the rice with the deep red of the eggplant and tomatoes.