Aubergine (Eggplant), Mushroom and Red Kidney Bean Stew, with caramelised beef tomato and black olives

Aubergine (Eggplant), Mushroom and Red Kidney Bean Stew, with caramelised beef tomato and black olives

This Aubergine and Mushroom Stew isn’t exactly romantic. I like to celebrate today as the fact it’s the middle of Feb, with, more importantly, spring around the corner. It’s even a little milder here, at last. Anyway, at the store yesterday I’d no idea of what to make for lunch today. So, I quite simply grabbed another punnet of really nice looking chestnut mushrooms that are on special this week. As I haven’t had aubergine (eggplant) in a while I decided to couple that and go with a can of kidney beans.

Unfortunately, regardless of how good this tastes this type of recipe never seems to look as good on the plate. Especially as this one is dryer than normal. On purpose as I want this as a side to go with marinated lamb skewers. Not only that I really wanted the combination of aubergine and mushrooms to shine through without adding a can of tomatoes. There is sauce here, even if it’s not visible. A large beef tomato was allowed to caramelise, for ages, and then rubbed through a fine wire metal sieve. And there’s the juice of half a lemon. The reason I’ve kept this so plain, by only adding cayenne, is purely to do with wanting to marinate the lamb in yoghurt and allspice, the latter I’m not used to cooking with. So, I definitely don’t want to use particular spices that are going to wreak havoc with the allspice. In face, I’m not even sure if the lemon with work well with allspice. Hmm…I’ll find out this weekend, then.

Aubergine (Eggplant), Mushroom and Red Kidney Bean Stew, with caramelised beef tomato and black olives


  • olive oil
  • 1 x medium aubergine (eggplant), washed, halved, and cut into rough cubes, immerse the cubes in water with a good helping of salt, submerge them by using a weight on top, leave for an hour, drain and refresh with cold water several times and squeeze out excess water
  • 250g (8.81 oz) x chestnut mushrooms, wiped, sliced in half then into several pieces
  • 250g (8.81 oz) x onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 x dried bay leaf, split
  • 1 x beef tomato of about 280g (9.87 oz) in weight, washed and sliced in half OR the same weight tomatoes
  • 1 x can red kidney beans, well rinsed
  • 2 x medium garlic cloves, root end cut off, peeled and crushed or minced
  • 1/4 x teaspoon red pepper flakes, more to personal taste
  • 1 x tablespoon tomato purée
  • about 4 x pitted black olives per person, sliced
  • fresh parsley, fine chopped, to serve

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.


  • Put a large heavy-based saucepan on electric heat No 3 (out of 6). When onions are ready and the pan is hot pour in enough oil to cover its base. Add the bay leaf and allow to infuse for 30 seconds. Add the onions and stir frequently. When they start to turn a pale golden reduce heat to No 2. When turning golden reduce heat to No 1. Push the onions to the sides, pour in a glug more oil and add the garlic. Allow several minutes for the garlic to cook. Before transferring this mixture to a suitable bowl sprinkle over the cayenne and allow to infuse without scorching.
  • Add the tomato/es to a separate pan with a little oil and a lid. Put on heat No 2 for most of the cooking time. Remove the lid after about 15 minutes and continue to pan-fry until nicely caramelised. When ready to add them to the aubergine mixture pour them into a fine wire metal sieve and using a stainless steel soup ladle rub them through, collecting all of the purée from underneath with a wooden spoon. Discard the remaining pulp. Do add a little to the pan and collect any sediment, pouring that through the sieve as well.
  • After draining and rinsing the aubergine pieces squeeze out as much excess water as possible. I did this with my hands rather than using a very clean t-towel (one that has been boiled). Using a large heavy-based saucepan or pan/skillet put on heat No 3. When pan is hot add a little oil and add the aubergine. Shake the pan vigorously, if necessary, to prevent sticking. Continue to cook until nicely golden all over, reducing heat when necessary to No 1. They can take up to an hour to get them absolutely soft to the palette. And there shouldn’t be any crunch to them at all.
  • Pour in a glug more oil if necessary after pushing the aubergine to the sides and add the kidney beans. Up the heat again to No 2 and allow them to heat through.
  • Put a heavy-based saucepan or pan/skillet on heat No 3. When mushrooms are prepared pour in a little oil and add the mushrooms. Stir through occasionally. When they start to leach a brown liquid stay with the pan and stir frequently to prevent scorching. Reduce heat if necessary. Continue to cook until nicely golden all over. Remove from heat and add the mushrooms to a suitable bowl.
  • When all ingredients are ready to be combined, including the puréed tomato put the stew back on heat and stir through occasionally to prevent any scorching. If using tomato purée add that and make sure it’s well stirred through.

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny H Hepburn



  1. –Not many people in the U.S. know that eggplants need to be degorged. Persians sprinkle them with salt and let them sweat for an hour then quickly rinse and pat dry (some don’t rinse, and only pat dry). Japanese soak them in mild salt water and just pat dry. In both cases, as in your recipe, degorged eggplants are fried.
    –I always wondered… what high, medium-high or low heat mean to a reader on their respective stoves. I often thought of using the example of a ‘clock-hand’ to point out where to turn the knob. Today, for the first time, I saw “No 3 (out of 6)” and you used numbers for lowering heat. Did you come-up with this idea or is it commonly used? I like it very much and would like to use it.
    Thanks, Fae.


    • Have to admit I didn’t know of the term degorged. I’ve always salted my aubergine but have never soaked them for as long. It wasn’t until I happened across a recipe for Sicilian caponata that I read by soaking for that length of time the aubergine use up very little oil during pan-frying. It’s definitely the case with mine.

      Funny, I always cooked on gas whilst in London. It’s only since moving to the coast where I have to cook on electric. That’s purely the reason why I use the numbers, as here in the UK most hobs/stove tops use numbers as in 0 – 6. I do remember Kiki (who I think might be using electric) mentioning to me that she liked the use of my numbers as well. It’s so difficult to give accurate timings as everyone’s cooker or hob will have differing speeds. All I can safely do is give info on how I use my cooker – like myself, a tad slow these days! Certainly slower than gas would be. I’m not overly keen on using terms like moderate, etc. It’s a bit vague.


  2. I’m just glad I’m back on my island home, having flown away from
    winter in Perth yesterday. Of course, a lovely dish like this is a delight any day of the year since I love aubergine – no ex-veggie hangover there. BTW I see the wisp of steam 🙂 go for the lemon and allspice – or maybe preserved lemon?


  3. Weird, this recipe didn’t come up on my WP Reader for Blogs I Follow —weird! Thank goodness for Twitter or I would have completely missed it! This looks lovely Johnny, I especially love the mushrooms!


    • The WP Reader is acting up, partly as it’s being changed on a regular basis.

      This is the first time to combine aubergine and mushrooms, and I think I’ve got the ratio right. Just about to have more as a very late lunch so I’m hoping the flavours have stored. As this takes so long to make I prefer the idea of cooking this the night before.


  4. Glad you mentioned the steam in the pictures, so I scrolled back and actually saw it for what it was – to my shame I have to admit I couldn’t detect it because there are fingerprints and some dusty spots on my (office) monitor…
    Another one of your recipes that sounds just like my thing, and I already knew that just by the post title before I even read through it!
    As for you giving us numbers, you’re right, I really like that. I have an electric stove and the dial goes from 1 – 9, but with your directions like 3 out of 6, I can easily adapt that.


    • It’s so seldom my little camera picks up on steam as it’s just not fast enough.
      1 – 9? That must allow for more even control. I really would prefer an even lower temperature for my hob. As it will scorch, so I have to take off heat and let the plate cool sufficiently. One of the reasons why my food takes so long to cook, including this dish. The aubergine takes at least an hour! Worth the wait in flavour, I’m pleased to say.


    • To be honest I wasn’t happy with the overall look of this dish, especially the food. Hopefully if I can get the lamb pieces I’m after (oops, just realised I’ve forgotten to buy skewers!) I’ll be able to get better shots of this dish as it deserves to look more appetising.


  5. Ooh la la, the steam gave it a valentine mystique! And I love the heart-shaped bonbon dishes!! This looks delicious! I am putting this out there; you and Fae should have a cooking show! Your recipes are very unique and always exquisite. Not to mention absolutely delicious with a fun edge!!


    • Yes, sort of (as in Valentine mystique)! And I do love those little Danish bonbon dishes as well. Shame I hardly ever get the chance to use them.
      I’m hoping this will work with the idea of the lamb skewers. Food and Forage Hebrides commented to use the lemon with the allspice, although I’m going to keep them separate. Just in case!
      Oh yes, I’d certainly do a cooking show with a wonderful character like Fae!


    • How embarrassing! I’ve just noticed your comment quite by chance. As I’m hoping to update this post with new photos next week. In the meantime, thank you for your comment. And I do have to apologise for taking so long to respond!


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