Eggplant Stew with Beans

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INGREDIENTS

– 2 large eggplants, diced
– 1 large onion, chopped
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 2 bell peppers (any color), diced
– 2 large tomatoes, chopped (or one 14 oz can of diced tomatoes)
– 1 can (15 oz) of cannellini beans or chickpeas, drained and rinsed
– 3 cups vegetable broth
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 teaspoon ground cumin
– 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
– 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
– 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
– 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
– Optional: 1 teaspoon chili flakes (if you like it spicy)

PREPARATION METHOD

1. **Prepare the Eggplant:**
– Sprinkle the diced eggplant with salt and let it sit for about 20 minutes to draw out excess moisture. Rinse and pat dry with a paper towel.

2. **Cook the Vegetables:**
– In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until it becomes translucent, about 5 minutes.
– Add the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.

3. **Add Spices and Vegetables:**
– Stir in the ground cumin, smoked paprika, ground coriander, dried oregano, and dried thyme. Cook for 1-2 minutes to release the flavors.
– Add the diced bell peppers and cook for about 5 minutes, until they start to soften.

4. **Add Tomatoes and Eggplant:**
– Stir in the chopped tomatoes (or canned diced tomatoes) and the diced eggplant. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. **Simmer the Stew:**
– Add the vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender.

6. **Add Beans:**
– Stir in the cannellini beans or chickpeas and let the stew cook for another 10 minutes to heat through and allow the flavors to meld.

7. **Season and Serve:**
– Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If you like a bit of heat, add the chili flakes.
– Serve the stew hot, garnished with fresh parsley or cilantro.

#### Serving Suggestions:
– Serve with crusty bread or over rice for a more substantial meal.
– A side of yogurt or a sprinkle of feta cheese can add a nice touch of creaminess.

Enjoy your Eggplant Stew with Beans!