Harissa Roasted Aubergine (Super-Tasty Superfood!)

Do you ever cook something that is so great that you just want to eat the whole thing again straight away and you know you’re just going to keep making it again and again? This is definitely one of those and it’s one of my favourite main meals I’ve tried for a while. It’s another one from Jamie’s Everyday Super Food and so not only is it delicious, but it’s guilt free eating. This makes 2 servings and after a particularly long and exhausting day last week, the leftovers were the best thing to look forward to and keep me going all day! This is something I would definitely serve to my friends, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

I love aubergine anyway, but the harissa works so well with it and the cooking process here really plays to the aubergine’s strengths. The brown rice is also packed with flavour, perfectly delicious and moist, and let’s remember that rice isn’t normally something to write home about! The pomegranate molasses and pistachios are obviously the more expensive options here, but if you buy the pistachios in bulk it isn’t too expensive and you’ve got a great healthy snack. The pomegranate is also delicious used in loads of other foods, or even with a bit of yoghurt as a delicious dessert. With my cooking time being eternally dark at the moment during these winter months, the picture really doesn’t do it justice but the colours are absolutely bursting so it’s really visually appealing. And if none of this has yet convinced you, the day I made it my flatmate tried a bit and bought all the bits to make it herself this week.

And final tip- You’ll need either a casserole pan for this, or like me you could use a large, shallow saucepan and transfer it to an oven dish later on.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • oil of your choice (I tend to use olive oil or coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup of brown rice
  • 800ml good quality vegetable stock (I use bouillon)
  • 1 aubergine, halved lengthways and lightly scored in a criss-cross pattern (see picture below)
  • 2 tsp harissa
  • 6 olives, destoned and roughly torn
  • 200g cherry tomatoes (mixed colours optional!), halved
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 pomegranate
  • 30g shelled pistachios
  • A few sprigs of fresh coriander, to serve

How to make it…

  1. First, in either a shallow casserole pan or a large, shallow saucepan, start by lightly roasting the cumin seeds for 2-3 minutes or until they start to darken and become fragrant.
  2. Next, add the oil, onion, garlic and a splash of water. Cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the onions have softened.
  3. Pour in the rice and the stock, bring to the boil, cover and then leave to simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, loosen the harissa paste with a tsp of water and then lightly spread it over the two aubergine halves. Then, lay them gently on top of the rice (the water should not submerge the aubergines) with the harissa side facing up. Cover and simmer for another 20 minutes on a medium-low heat.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Use this time to prepare the olives and cherry tomatoes, before tossing them together with the balsamic vinegar.
  5. When the aubergine is ready, transfer to an oven dish (rice first, laying the aubergine over the top) if using. Then, whichever dish you’re using, sprinkle the olive and tomato mix over the top of the aubergine halves and rice. Put it in the oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until the liquid has largely evaporated and the rice is cooked through.
  6. Finally, serve with the pomegranate molasses (try giving the pomegranate half a good bash with a wooden spoon), pistachios and coriander leaves.
  7. Enjoy!

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From Everyday Super Food by Jamie Oliver, page 186 – ‘Harissa Roasted Aubergine – Pomegranate, Pistachios, Olives, Rice’

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