Harissa Roasted Aubergine, Pomegranate and Rice

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you know how much I love harissa. I am constantly looking for new ways to incorporate it into dishes that I cook. So, imagine my happiness when I found a recipe that uses harissa in the Jamie Oliver book I bought over the summer. I hesitate to saw “new” because it’s an old book, but it’s new for me.

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I love aubergine, although I’m sure that wasn’t always the case. I am almost certain my mum will tell you of a time when I didn’t eat it. But, for my entire adult life, I have loved aubergine. The problem is that sometimes it’s not cooked properly – and that’s when people start to have issues with it.

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One of the best ways to ensure delicious aubergine is to roast it. The aubergine becomes soft and delicious. Trust me.

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So, with Jamie’s recipe, once again a casserole dish is required. And once again, I didn’t have one. So for this I have used a frying pan with a lid to start with, and then switched to a shallow, square Pyrex dish for the second part of the cooking. If you’re worried about presentation, then you’re going to need to carefully lift the aubergine off the rice from the frying pan and set aside, then lay the rice into the oven-safe dish, before placing the aubergine back on top. It’s a bit delicate, but the end results are totally worth it.

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I had one of those moments when I took a bite. You know, when you close your eyes, tilt your head back slightly, and just relish the flavour of the dish? Yeah. One of those.

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There are a lot of ingredients, I’m not going to lie, but you don’t have to use everything, even I didn’t use everything that was on Jamie’s ingredients list – because I didn’t feel they were necessary. So the recipe I’m giving you today is my pared-down version, with a few minor tweaks and a few ingredients removed from Jamie’s original recipe.

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Feel free to comment below if you have any questions, or suggestions.

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Ingredients

1 red onion
3 cloves of garlic
olive oil
1/2 teaspoon caraway (or cumin) seeds
150 grams brown rice
800 ml vegetable stock
2 round aubergines or 4 long skinny aubergines
3 teaspoons harissa paste
1 teaspoon water
6 olives
200 grams ripe cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fat-free Greek yoghurt
1/2 a pomegranate

  1. Peel and finely slice the onion and garlic. Place in a frying pan for 1 tablespoon of olive oil, on a medium-high heat. Add the caraway seeds. Stirring regularly, cook for 5 minutes or until onions are soft.
  2. Stir in the rice, pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Halve the aubergines lengthways, lightly score a criss-cross pattern into each cut side, and sprinkle with sea salt.
  4. Loosen the harissa paste with the water, then spread on each scored half of aubergine.
  5. Lay the aubergine over the rice in the pan, harissa side up, and cover the pan again. Simmer on a medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  7. Destone (if necessary) and half the olives. Halve the tomatoes and place both into a bowl with the balsamic vinegar. Mix well.
  8. When the aubergine has been cooking for 20 minutes, remove the cover and carefully remove the aubergine from the rice onto a cutting board.
  9. Move the rice into an oven-safe Pyrex dish, then lay the aubergine back on top.
  10. Sprinkle the olive and tomato mixture over the rice and aubergine.
  11. Place into the oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and the liquid has evaporated.
  12. To serve, spoon over the yoghurt, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

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