Thursday, November 19, 2009

Guiso de Berenjena (Cuban Eggplant Stew)

This eggplant dish is very healthy in that the eggplant being a vegetable that absorbs a lot of oil doesn't get deep-fried or sauteed in oil instead it is simmered in a savory creole style tomato based sauce with bits of ham, pork or beef for flavor and for freshness minced cilantro or parsley towards the end.

This is my Tata's recipe (grandmother) right now she is at home with us recovering from a fracture she had from a fall, and moved back in temporarily or permanently (the choice is hers I love her) anyways I had 3 Chinese eggplants sitting in the fridge, I was gonna make eggplant in a Chinese fashion braised in "Yuxiang" sauce (sauteed garlic, ginger, scallions, chili peppers, chili bean sauce, soy sauce, salt, sugar brought together with some chicken stock thickened with corn starch to form a sauce can have ground pork, beef, or be vegetarian and if you please some Sichuan peppercorns can be added to add a numbing effect) but knowing my grandmother she wouldn't be able to eat this (doesn't tolerate spiciness and isn't very open to different things) so I wanted to make something with flavors she is more used to.

So I asked her, "Tata I read somewhere about a Cuban eggplant stew do you know a recipe for it or how to make it? Have you ever made it?" she was like sure "do this and that, etc." and so here is the recipe. Let me tell you it was very very delicious and I think I will be making it again :)


-3 large Chinese Eggplants (or 1 large American one) cut into small cubes
-1 large onion minced
-1 green or red bell pepper minced
-4 cloves garlic mashed to a paste or finely minced
-1/2 lbs. ham or beef or pork meat cut into tiny cubes (like less than 1/2 inch small minced)
-1 can 8 oz. tomato sauce
-2 cups beef broth or water
-salt to taste
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1/2 bunch of very finely minced parsley or cilantro
-extra- virgin olive oil (generous amount to coat pan well)


(1) Heat oil on medium high, brown chopped meat or ham together with onion and bell pepper, when meat or ham is slightly browned and onions are translucent add garlic, sautee until fragrant.

(2) Add tomato sauce, higher heat to high let it bubble, add beef broth or water bring to a high boil, now add cumin, stir well, taste if it needs more salt.

(3) Add chopped eggplant to boiling sauce, stir well, when boiling cover on medium low for about 5-10 minutes (depends)

(4) Now sprinkle in generous amount of parsley or cilantro and turn off heat. Serve with rice and whatever meat dish you want.

*The meat or ham is added for flavor, it's not the main part of the dish. My grandmother say's you can also use a little ground pork or beef instead of tiny cubed meat, and if you don't have ham that can be cut in chunks just chop finely the sliced ham about 4-6 slices. She doesn't like this vegetarian by the way but if you insist go head it will still be delicious in my opinion (common a sofrito, cumin, and beef broth it's bound to be delicious)

*If using American eggplant you may want to peel it.