Monday, March 23, 2009

Making Discoveries

I was trying to figure out whether I really wanted to follow a Chickpea Eggplant Rollup recipe verbatim or modify it to the Eggplant Casserole that I'd done earlier this winter. It was more work than I felt like. I ended up deciding against it and going into creativity mode. This was the result, and our favourite part was the chickpea crust: I've since used it on a squirrel cacciatore to make into a pot-pie*, and while we enjoy normal pie crust, this chickpea crust really lends fabulous flavour & texture.

*If you're going to use it for pot pie, make a double batch of the chickpea crust.

Eggplant Salsa Pie

Chickpea Crust
1 cup dry chickpeas, cooked & drained
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
3 to 6 tbsp olive oil **

**unfortunately, I didn't measure, so I'm not sure!! it's mostly about texture; you want the chickpea mixture to be dough-like and not crumbly, but also not so liquid as the oil will squish out between your fingers if you took a ball & squeezed

Use food processor to blender the chickpeas and liquids until dough-like consistency. This takes a good 3 to 5 minutes of processing.
Press the ball of dough evenly into a greased round casserole dish, flatten with fingers, making sure to distribute the dough as evenly as possible so that there aren't very thick or very thin areas of the crust.
Bake the crust for about 5 minutes in a 350F oven, then remove.

1 large eggplant or 2 medium eggplants
1 cup of salsa***

Poke eggplant(s) with fork and place in microwave safe dish. Cook in microwave on high for 3 minutes. Flip and rotate the eggplants and cook another 3 minutes. Repeat this until soft and cooked.
Scrape the flesh of the eggplant(s) into food processor and blender until smooth (discard the skin). Add salsa and blend.

Pour filling into chickpea crust. If you wish, shred some cheese (e.g. cheddar) over the top. Bake at 350F for 30-45 minutes, or until filling is steaming hot and crust is baked golden brown.

***I made up a batch of Apple Pepper Salsa, and it's a bit heavy on the turmeric for my tastes. However, the eggplant flavour compliments the flavour of this salsa beautifully. Here's the salsa recipe, should you wish to use it.

Apple Pepper Salsa

10 cups green apples, cored & coarsely chopped
6 cups green and red bell peppers, cored & coarsely chopped
4 cups tomatillos, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp pickling salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground tumeric
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tbsp green coriander seeds
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Bring ingredients to boil in heavy sauce pan (Lee Valley's maslin pan is fabulous for this job). Reduce heat, stirring occasionally, and boil gently until thickened.

Ladle hot into clean, hot pint jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a boiling water canner according to the recommendations in Table 1.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Salsa in a boiling-water canner.

Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of PackJar Size0 - 1,000 ft1,001 - 6,000 ftAbove 6,000 ft
HotPints15 min2025

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