Summer is coming and with it the time for garden parties, casual gatherings on the balcony and eating outside. Often it’s quite a number of people one has to feed so it’s nice to have a recipe for a big pot of something, which is easy to make and good for cooking ahead. This recipe will be enough for a group of 10-12 people (if served with bread and maybe a few other things) and it’s full of Mediterranean flavour. The long cooking time reduces the water content and softens the aubergine so you will end up with a creamy texture. The twist for an extra portion of flavour are some oven-roasted, sea-salt sprinkled tomatoes which go in at the very end…
For a big pot you need:
- 4 medium onions
- 3 small garlic cloves
- 4 aubergines
- 150 ml red wine
- about 1 litre to 1.2 litres pureed tomatoes
- about 500 g fresh tomatoes
- about 1 kg white beans
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes (optional)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- lots of different herbs and plenty of them (basil, oregano, cotton lavender, thyme…)
Choose a big pot and heat the olive oil. Chop onions into fine pieces and fry gently over low heat. Crush the garlic and add to the pot. Cut the aubergines into thumb-nail sized pieces. Don’t waste time on cutting pretty cubes – it will be a mash later. Roast for a few minutes while stirring and pour the red wine over it for deglazing. Let boil gently for a few minutes. Add the pureed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper and let it simmer for half an hour with the lid on over low heat. Meanwhile put the fresh tomatoes in an ovenproof dish, sprinkle sparely with olive oil but generously with sea salt flakes. Grill or bake in the oven at 200°C until the skin tears and a sligtly roasted smell comes out of the oven.
Take out and let cool until it’s possible to cut them roughly. Reserve a third and add the rest to the stew together with the white beans. You can make some more roasted tomatoes and use them for decoration if you want. Let cook for another 20 minutes or half an hour. Rinse and chop the herbs. Add along with the reserved tomato pieces (they will remain their colour, making the stew look a bit nicer) and mix thouroughly until combined and the herbs begin to release their flavour. Add some seasoning if necessary.
Serve and enjoy.
Note: If making it a few hours or even a day ahead (which makes it even more flavourful) hold some of the herbs and oven roasted tomatoes back and add before preheating it.