- 8 plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
- 3 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 head garlic, cloves separated but unpeeled
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 large eggplant, cut into 2 inch chunks
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 3 tbsp Za’atar spice blend
- 1 1/2 cups give or take of vegetable or chicken stock (optional: you can also use just water)
- cilantro for garnish
- 3 tbsp balkan yogourt
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
Preheat oven to 425 F and line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss tomatoes in 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper, then lay them out cut side down on the baking sheet. In the same bowl, toss carrots and garlic with olive oil, salt and pepper and lay them out on the baking sheet. Now, toss chickpeas in the bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper and pour them out on a baking sheet. Finally – you guessed it – toss eggplants chunks in the bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper and lay them out on the second baking sheet. Drizzle any remaining oil from the bowl over the vegetables.
Roast both sheets (tomatoes on upper rack) in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until tender. Remove all from the oven and let cool slightly, then slide the tomato skins off using tongs or your fingers. Reserve the tomato juices.
In a food processor, puree tomatoes, carrots and garlic with the tomato juices. It should now be a smooth orange liquid. Trasfer the liquid to a soup pot and add the eggplant and chickpeas. Add Za’atar, and enough liquid (stock or water) to cover the vegetables. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 – 15 minutes, and season to taste.
If you’re making this stew ahead, allow it to cool almost to room temperature before storing it in the fridge or freezer.
In a small bowl, stir yogourt and cumin together.
Serve the stew with a dollop of the yogourt mixture, fresh cilantro and warm pita bread.