Slow cooked eggplant stew with white beans

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Just because spring is in full bloom doesn’t mean you need to retire your slow cooker until next winter. I always thought the slow cooker was reserved for hibernation-worthy winter soups and stews, but have found it to be one of my most useful kitchen tools year-round. This dish is reminiscent of ratatouille with a slightly smokey, slightly sweet flavor and pop of spring when topped with fresh parsley. The eggplant gets buttery-soft when peeled, so I think it’s worth that extra step. I served this over slices of pre-cooked polenta rounds, and enjoyed it even more as leftovers the next day after the flavors had a chance to meld overnight.

Ingredients:

2 large eggplant, peeled and diced

1 white onion, diced

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

24 ounce can diced tomatoes

3 carrots, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp cumin

2 cloves crushed garlic

fresh parsley as a garnish

salt and pepper to taste

1 tube of pre-cooked polenta

Combine all ingredients except polenta in a large slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4 hours. Serve in a bowl over polenta. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

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