Eggplant cutlets, beans & spinach with a red wine roux

10 Oct

Man has often rued his lack of roux-making (ho! ho!). This should set the record straight. It should also address that other record, of French insistence on every meal having meat in it. Man Woman get stuck on a cheese and bread diet whenever we visit Paris. We suggest they consider something along these lines.

While there may appear to be 1,001 ingredients in the below dish, you probably do have most of it in the house and can chop and change a bit (this is our vesion of a roux recipe which called for herbs we do not possess – ie. marjoram, and we actually used spinach stalks instead of celery). Also all the other elements can be made while the sauce is being stirred. This’ll suit a dinner party as the elements can be made ahead of time, but it’s quick enough for a mid-week meal too – no more than 45 minutes from start to plate.

Red wine roux

  • 1.25C boiling water
  • 2 tsp vegetable boulion (or stock)
  • 25g butter (or vegan magarine)
  • 3-4 TBSP flour
  • 1 white onion, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4C finely chopped celery or spinach stalks
  • 3/4C red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary – or 1tsp fresh leaves, crushed

Eggplant cutlets

  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 egg
  • 1C (or so) bread crumbs (Panko best)

Beans and greens

  • 1 tin (or cup) buttery beans – such as flagolet, canneli, butter beans, etc
  • 1.5C chopped fresh spinach
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Ground black pepper

Making the sauce

In a saucepan on medium heat mix boiling water and boullion (or stock) until dissolved.

In a small frypan melt the butter and stir in the flour, stirring for five minutes over a low heat until it starts to smell toasty. Add the onions and garlic to the butter-flour mix (I think there is a proper word for this) and continue stirring for three minutes.

Put the celery/spinach stalks in and stir for another couple of minutes. The add the boiling water mix to the fry pan and whisk until it creates a smooth even mixture. Add a bayleaf and other herbs and bring to the boil.

After a few minutes, slowly add the wine and continue to stir bringing to biul again. Then lower to a simmer for 5 – 10 minutes. Adjust herbs, garlic and maybe a dash of red wine vinegar to taste. If it’s become too gravy-like, just add a bit more water.

Other elements: Eggplant cutlets

While the sauce is being brought to the boil, etcetera. Cut a small eggplant into 4-5 thick slices – about 1.5cm thick heat. Sprinkle with salt and chuck into a hot oven, about 15 minutes, until cooked through.

Create a crumbing station: one plate of mixed egg, one plate of bread crumbs. Dip each cooked eggplant slice into the egg, then into the crumbs and set aside. Do this twice for each slice.

To cook, pour a little vegetable oil into a fry pan. We used only a little – it was less than 1cm deep. Fry eggplant for about 2-3 minutes each side, then set aside on paper towels to drain.

Other elements: Spinach and beans

Simply chuck a can of beans into a saucepan and warm over low heat. Just as the sauce and eggplant is about ready, throw in the chopped spinach, drizzle over lemon juice and sprinkle in black pepper.

This isn’t as hard as this long list suggests!

Estimated cost: £4.50

Musical accompaniment: Robert Stillman, Machine Song

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