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This recipe is for 6 serves.
- 1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight
- 2 lb large eggplants
- 8 tbsp olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 large onions, sliced thinly
- 10 small clove garlic, unpeeled
- 1 cup fresh or canned tomatoes, seeded and chopped (reserve juices)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 clove garlic, peeled and crushed with 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp ground allspice or cinnamon
- fresh lemon juice
- sprigs of fresh mint
- Peel and halve the chickpeas, set aside.
- Remove and discard 3 vertical strips of skin from each eggplant, then cut the whole eggplant into 2½-inch chunks.
- salt the pieces and leave to drain in a colander for at least 1 hour.
- Rinse the eggplant, squeeze gently and pat dry with paper towels.
- Working in batches, lightly fry the chunks in 5 tablespoons hot oil until golden brown; drain.
- Sprinkle the eggplant with pepper and set aside.
- In a 2- or 3-quart casserole with a tight-fitting lid, warm the remaining olive oil and add the onions; sweat them over low heat 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until limp and golden.
- Add chickpeas and fry 2 minutes.
- Stir in the drained eggplant, unpeeled garlic, tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste and pepper.
- Cover tightly and cook over reduced heat without stirring 40 minutes.
- Carefully fold in the crushed garlic, parsley, vinegar, sugar and allspice.
- Cook 10 minutes longer until thickened (up to this point, the dish can be made one day in advance. Cool, cover and refrigerate so that the flavors will meld).
- To serve, return to room temperature, adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and allspice and sharpen the taste with a few drops of lemon juice.
- Garnish with the mint.