I saved it just for you.
I am fairly certain that this dish isn’t actually South African but its an old family recipe that was introduced to us as such by a vegetarian friend and the name has since stuck. I remember Aunty Hélène bringing this over to a potluck Christmas lunch when I was a child. Naturally as a family of serious meat-arians we were suspicious of vegetarian food. Back then I loathed this purple vegetable which my mother only ever served stewed with beef. So it was only under extreme pressure and outright threats from mom that I tasted this just to be polite. The fact that I am making this some 25 years later tells you that it's good. Vegetarians surprise your carnivore friends with this tasty side dish. Oh and by the way it's goes great with a roasted or stewed lamb! We had this last Sunday with stewed fish
Tante Hélène’s South African Casserole
• 2 ounces raisins
• 4 melongene (eggplants)
• Salt to taste ¼ tsp – ½ tsp
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 cup diced onion
• 3 cups tomatoes, rough chopped (leave the seeds in as you need the moisture)
• ¼ cup unsalted peanuts, lightly roasted, coarsely chopped
• 3/4 cup breadcrumbs or ¼ cup farine reconstituted in 1/4 cup water
• 1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Put raisins to soak in some water so that they plump up.
Peel and cut eggplants in half. Slice length ways about ¼ inch thick. Sprinkle with salt to to taste ( I only use ¼ tsp but we cook low salt around here.). Put the slices to bake at 350 degrees in the oven until cooked through. Alternately if you are worried about the oil you can steam your slices.
Meanwhile sauté garlic and onion on high heat. Cook until onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes more. Turn down the heat.
Drain the raisins of excess water before adding them to the garlic, onion mixture. Add the nuts and breadcrumbs. Mix thoroughly. Remove from heat.
In a casserole dish layer the melongene, bread(or farine) mixture. Sprinkle with cheese, then another layer of melongene. Top with breadcrumbs and the rest of grated cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
This is another of my recipes that has undergone a gluten free makeover. The original uses breadcrumbs. Both ways are nice. The breadcrumbs have the edge on appearance since they give a prettier crust. For some reason the farine (coarse cassava flour) just doesn’t seem to brown.
Promise me one thing. Do not use American cheddar to make this. An Irish or New Zealand cheddar is preferable. You need a sharp cheddar to offset the sweet from the peanuts.