Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sweet and sour eggplant with sausage

This is one of those things that I make so often that it's kind of automatic--I had to really stop and think about what quantities actually go into it. It's really not eggplant season anymore so you might end up filing this one away for next summer when there's tons of eggplant that needs using up. And since eggplant season overlaps so nicely with pepper season, feel free to add a chopped red bell pepper and a few hot peppers to the sauté as well. Start with a nice medium sized eggplant and a medium onion. Chop them! Let them know who's boss. And sausage! This is, as it usually is in my house, Georgia Boy smoked hot sausage. You can leave it out if you're vegetarian and you'll have a perfectly delicious vegetable sauté on your hands. But I love Georgia Boy sausage. Love. It. I use two links--it's about 1 cup, sliced. This is also my preferred sausage for low country boil and the like. I think the phrase "preferred sausage" is funny.Start the sausage in a big probably won't be needing any olive oil or anything because it is surely fatty enough as it is.
Add your onion and sauté over medium heat with the sausage for 3 minutes or so, until it is beginning to soften. If you're not using sausage, you will need a tablespoon or so of olive oil heating up in the pan to keep everything slick. And in go your eggplant chunks! The savvy among you will note that I do not salt and drain my eggplant ahead of time. This is because I am lazy and I have omitted that step from my life and never looked back. Don't tell my mom.
Let the eggplant and onion cook up for about 4 minutes over medium heat, stirring often. You want the onion to be golden-colored and tender but not crisping out. The eggplant should shrink in size and be getting pretty soft. Now add in 1 1/2 cups tomato something. I used tomato puree this time because that's what I had on hand. Tomato sauce would be just fine too. I most often use whole, peeled tomatoes and sort of break them up with a spoon in the pan as I stir. But this time it was tomato puree. The amount isn't too important--you can add as much as 2 cups or so and just let it cook down if you want.
Turn down the heat to medium-low and stir occasionally. Let it bubble away happily for about 8 - 10 minutes, then add in 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon capers and a splash of worcestershire sauce. You can add about 1/4 cup or more of red wine as well, if you have it handy. It probably won't need any salt but you should taste to be sure. At this point it smells so good that if you don't guard vigilantly, somebody probably will sneak in there and grab a bite. I also usually add 1 can of drained, well-rinsed red kidney beans at this point. Let them cook in the sauce for about 5 minutes, then turn off the heat. I add in several healthy shakes of tabasco at the very end, but that's just because we like it hot. It adds more tang too, so you might need to adjust the balance of sweet with a bit more sugar.
This is great over orzo, cous cous or any small pasta. Fast and easy! Make it tonight.
By the way--I accidentally deleted all my comments while I was housekeeping and trying to get rid of spam. I feel like a chump because there were some really nice ones in there! Not intentional--just clumsiness :(

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