Sunday slow cook

Last year I jumped on the slow cooker bandwagon.  I resisted at first because I felt like it was probably one of those things that everyone would talk about for 6 months and then completely forget and while I think the popularity has now pulled back quite a bit, I have become a convert.  I certainly don’t pull out the cooker every week, but there is something great about being able to throw a bunch of stuff together in a pot in the morning and then just leave it cooking all day filling the house with nice cooking smells.

Anyway, getting to the point of today’s post… Gerard’s parents have been overseas visiting family and holidaying for a couple of months now and were due back very early on Monday morning.  Knowing that they were likely to be exhausted and hideously jetlagged on arrival Gerard and I decided to do a bit of cleaning and fridge stocking.  Our food supplies were mainly limited to staples but I thought that it would also be nice to also have a homecooked meal ready to go.  That’s where the slow cooker came in.  I decided that a soup was probably the best way to go for a post-flight meal so made something out of my trusty copy of The Complete Slow Cooker, playing around with quantities a little.

Here’s how it went down:

Tomato and eggplant soup

1 eggplant
1 onion
400g crushed tomatos
300g kidney beans
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
500ml vegetable stock
olive oil

I started by cutting my eggplant into chunky pieces, chopping the onion and finely slicing the garlic.  I don’t know if it’s weird but I find cutting things up really tedious so whenever I’m cooking I tend to do all the cutting at the start to get it over and done with.  Also it looks pretty.


Heat some oil in a large frypan and cook the eggplant pieces until golden on either side.  Transfer the eggplant to the slow cooker (which should be pre-heating if necessary).


Add some extra oil to the frypan to make up for what has been absorbed by the eggplant and then cook the onion over a medium heat until soft.


When the onion is soft add the garlic, cumin and paprika and cook for a minute or two before adding the tomato, kidney beans and some salt and pepper.  Cook over a high heat for several minutes, bringing the mix to the boil before transferring to the slowcooker.


Add the vegetable stock (preferably boiling) to the cooker and then cook on the low setting for 6 – 8 hours.


You can process to serve smooth but I like a chunky texture so left as is.  Normally I would serve with some toasted turkish bread and fresh coriander but today the results went straight into tupperware in the fridge.



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  • The Naked Chef

    For a slight Ottolenghi twist on this, try smoking the eggplant instead of frying. You can smoke the eggplant by putting it straight on top of a stove-top gas burner (use an intervening layer of foil if, like Marg, you like to keep a clean kitchen a minimise mess). Just keep turning it for 20 minutes and then scoop out the inside (be careful to leave the burnt outer shell behind).