Caponata (version XII)

2 medium eggplants
1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 onions, sliced
1 cup diced celery
3/4 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons capers
4 tablespoons raisins or currants, plumped in hot water
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.

Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and prick with a fork. Bake until tender but not mushy, about 35-45 minutes. When the eggplants are cool enough to handle, remove the peel and dice the flesh into 1-inch cubes. Place the cubes in a strainer or drainer.

In a large sauté pan over moderate heat, bring the stock to a boil. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the celery and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree, vinegar, and sugar, and simmer a few minutes. Stir in the reserved eggplant, capers, and raisins and warm through. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

This can be made a few days ahead of time. Bring to room temperature for serving, check seasoning, and add vinegar and salt if desired.

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