Although this is called a “stew,” it is thick enough to be served as a side dish or first course (prima). This is a traditional dish hailing from southern Italy, it’s comfort food at its finest—and simplest.
Makes 4 servings
- Heat the oil or water in a soup pot over medium-high heat for just about 1 minute. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, and cook for about 10 minutes until all the veggies begin to soften. Stir occasionally.
- Add the eggplant and water, and cook, covered, until the eggplant is slightly softened, about 10 minutes.
- Add the canned tomatoes with their juice, potatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, parsley, and tarragon. Stir, then reduce heat to low and cook uncovered for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are soft. (If water/broth evaporates while the vegetables are still cooking, add a little extra.)
- Stir in the salt and pepper, along with the chopped basil. Serve immediately with a hearty, rustic loaf of bread.
For Your Edification
Mirepoix is a mixture of chopped onions, carrots, and celery, and to reduce some prep time, you can often find pre-chopped mirepoix in such grocery stores as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods (USA only).
For Your Modification
Add your favorite vegan Italian sausage, such as Field Roast or Tofurky, to the stew at the end. I think for maximum flavor and texture, you will want to slice the sausage(s) into discs, fry them in a little olive oil, then add them to the soup in the last 10 or 15 minutes of cooking.
Gluten-free, wheat-free, oil-free (if using water to sauté), soy-free