It is with great pleasure that we present the recipe for Joon’s Braised Eggplant Stew. Joon was one of the most anticipated restaurant openings of 2020. However, the official opening of the Little Italy restaurant has been constantly postponed due to the pandemic. Behind this project is chef Erin Mahoney; whom we know from his years spent in restaurants such as Le St-Urbain, Impasto and La Bête à Pain. Due to the pandemic, government restrictions and successive closings and reopenings over the past two years, Joon unfortunately closed its doors permanently in February 2022.
This Braised Eggplant Stew recipe is a tribute to the chef’s excellent cuisine and to Persian cuisine.
“Traditionally, this Iranian stew is made with meat as well as eggplant. However, I find it lends itself perfectly to a full vegetarian meal, and you will never miss the meat,” explains Erin.
Thank you, Erin, for this delicious and comforting recipe. Every time a Tastet reader makes your recipe, they’ll think of Joon and all your wonderful work.
Long live Persian cuisine!
- 600-700g (about 3-4) mini aubergines/Italian aubergines
- 100g yellow split peas
- 300 g sweet onion, diced
- 12 vine red cherry tomatoes
- 250ml good quality tomato puree, not too runny
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- ½ tbsp salt, or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon lime juice, or more to taste
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 200 ml sunflower oil from Quebec
* Optional: 1 good pinch of saffron, crushed in a mortar and rehydrated in 1 tablespoon of warm water
- Cook the split peas in 500ml water until tender but not fully cooked.
- Skim as needed.
- Depending on the brand or even the age of the split peas, cooking can take from 15 minutes to sometimes 45 minutes. Check frequently for doneness.
- When the peas are tender, but still al dente, drain them and set aside.
* Chickpeas can be used in place of split peas for a less traditional touch
Sear the aubergines, caramelize the onions and prepare the sauce
- Wash the aubergines and cut them into fairly small halves. Put aside.
- Heat a drizzle of sunflower oil in your favorite casserole over medium heat.
- Brown your cherry tomatoes (still standing, no big deal if a few fall) and set them aside; they will be served as a garnish at the end.
- Add the remaining 200ml of sunflower oil and heat over medium heat.
- Start browning the eggplants (sometimes the eggplants can absorb a lot of cooking oil; add more if needed to get a nice browning of the pieces). Put aside.
- Caramelize the onions in the same oil until soft and golden.
- Add minced garlic and spices and sauté a little.
- Add the tomato puree and 2 cups (500 ml) of water.
- Bring to a boil, add salt and reduce heat to simmer gently for 45 minutes in a 325˚F oven or on the stovetop.
- Add the split peas and gently place the aubergines in the sauce
- Cover your casserole dish and finish cooking for 20 minutes, until the sauce is rich but not too thick. At this point, the peas will be tender and the eggplant will be cooked.
- Add saffron (if using), lime juice and salt to taste.
- Garnish with cherry tomatoes and serve from the oven to the table directly with the accompaniments of your choice.
Suggestions for accompaniments: good fresh bread, a green salad or basmati rice. Garnish with salted yogurt, pickles, fresh herbs and feta cheese
Enjoy your lunch!
Lift the lid of the Heritage Oval Casserole to reveal a delicious show! Rich and flavorful braised eggplant slow cooked and served straight from the dish.
Photography by Alison Slattery