This Chickpea Ragout over Polenta is surprisingly good. Served it over mashed potatoes or even pasta if you don’t have polenta.. This is a make-ahead meal and actually tastes better after it has been in the freezer for a while.  I made this and was initially disappointed with the taste, but froze it anyway.  The stew seemed to mellow a bit by the time I finally managed to find the polenta a few weeks later and pulled a package out of the freezer.    The recipe makes enough for 2 meals (for a family of four – with 2 small kids, we had leftovers for lunch the next day).

Chickpea Ragout Over Polenta

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups diced eggplant
  • 2 cups diced zucchini
  • 2 sweet red peppers, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and red pepper flakes
  • 2 (28oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 (19oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

Method:

In a large dutch oven or skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil over med heat, cook eggplant, zucchini, red peppers, onion, garlic, oregano, salt and hot pepper flakes, stirring occasionally until tender, 8-10 minutes.

NOTE: I diced my eggplant ahead of time, put it in a colander sprinkled with salt and let stand for 20 minutes or so, while I chopped the rest of the veggies.  When ready, I rinsed it well with water and dried it and then threw into the pot.  This is supposed to remove the bitterness of the eggplant.  I find it reduces the amount of oil the eggplant absorbs.  I only do this with large eggplants and never if they have just come out of the garden.

Add chickpeas, tomatoes, tomato paste.  Cover and simmer until thick and vegetables are soft, 15 minutes.

At this point you can let it cool and throw it into the freezer.  I split this into 2 large Ziploc freezer bags.

To serve:

Half of the recipe, thawed and heated through.

One tube of prepared polenta, sliced into 1″ rounds, spray or brush with olive oil, and broil in oven until edges are lightly browned.  You can sprinkle with parmesan if desired.

Stir fresh parsley into heated ragout, and serve over toasted polenta rounds.  Sprinkle with cheese.