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meatless friday redesign Our friends at Mary Help of Christians Academy in North Haledon, New Jersey, share recipes created in their Culinary Arts program on their blog, Our Daily Bread. This recipe is printed here with permission from MHCA Culinary Arts teacher Frank LaMendola. If you always seem to buy more veggies than you or your family can consume this recipe uses whatever you have on hand. For those of us fortunate enough to have gardens, you will know all about excess produce. This garden vegetable stew features onions, zucchini, red peppers, squash, carrots and tomatoes. Serve as is or over farro, brown or white rice and a sprinkle of vegan parmesan. "Meatless Friday: Vegetable Stew" (CatholicMom.com) Copyright 2018 Mary Help of Christians Academy Culinary Arts. All rights reserved. Used with permission.[/caption]

Vegetable Stew

  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup fresh oregano leaves
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 12 oz. eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained with juice reserved and chopped coarse
  • 2 medium zucchini, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 red or yellow bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup shredded fresh basil
  1. For the pestata: Process all ingredients in food processor for about 1 minute, scraping sides as necessary. Set aside.
  2. For the stew: Toss eggplant with 1 1/2 tsp. salt in bowl. Line surface of large plate with double layer of coffee filters or paper towels and lightly spray with vegetable oil spray. Spread eggplant in even layer over coffee filters or paper towels. Microwave eggplant, uncovered, until dry to touch and slightly shriveled, 8 to 12 minutes, tossing once halfway through to ensure that eggplant cooks evenly.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering. Add eggplant, onion, and potatoes; cook, stirring frequently, until eggplant browns and surface of potatoes becomes translucent, about 2 minutes. Push vegetables to sides of pot; add 1 tbsp. oil and tomato paste to clearing. Cook paste, stirring frequently, until brown fond develops (fond means the brown bits that stick to the bottom) on bottom of pot, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups water and chopped tomatoes with juice, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and gently simmer until eggplant is completely broken down and potatoes are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tbsp. oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until smoking. Add zucchini, bell peppers, and 1/2 tsp. salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are browned and tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Push vegetables to sides of skillet; add pestata and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir pestata into vegetables and transfer vegetables to bowl. Add remaining 1/4 cup water to skillet off heat, scraping up browned bits.
  5. Remove pot from heat and stir reserved vegetables and water from skillet into vegetables in Dutch oven. Cover pot and let stand for 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Stir in basil and season with salt to taste; serve.

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Copyright 2018 Mary Help of Christians Academy Culinary Arts About the author: Mary Help of Christians Academy, located in the Diocese of Paterson, is a private Catholic secondary school for young women. It is conducted by the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, in collaboration with laypersons committed to Catholic education.