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Sicilian Aubergine-Mushroom Stew
300g mushrooms
1 red chili pepper
8 garlic cloves
2 large aubergines (eggplant)
8 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp white-wine vinegar
3 Tbsp finely chopped celery leaves
2 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp castor sugar
2 tsps cumin
Salt and freshly milled black pepper

Clean the mushrooms thoroughly, and cut to appropriate size. Trim and finely slice the chili pepper. Peel and finely slice the garlic. Peel and cut the aubergines into large kebab-size cubes. Aubergine will absorb quite a lot of oil, so to avoid that first dip the cubes in water, then pat dry. Choose a large, wide-based pan and heat the olive oil. Fry the aubergine until brown on each side. You may need to do this in batches and what seems like an impossibly large quantity of aubergine will flop down considerably after cooking. Scoop them out of the oil and transfer to a plate as you go. Fry the chili and garlic in the same pan for 1-2 minutes, then add the mushrooms. Stir-fry for a few minutes, then return the aubergines to the pan, together with the vinegar, celery leaves, parsley and sugar, and cook everything slowly for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.