Eggplant and Leek Casserole with Bulgur and Curry Cashew Sauce

(5 votes)

1-1/4 cups raw, unsalted cashew pieces
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon lemon extract
3 cups plus 1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups plus 1/4 cup water
scant pinch salt
1 cup bulgur wheat, uncooked
2 medium leeks (about 3/4 pound)
1 medium, finely diced carrot
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon oregano
2 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Lightly toast the cashews in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir or shake almost constantly until cashews are just beginning to brown. In a blender, combine the cashews, curry powder, garlic, soy sauce, and lemon extract with 3 cups water. Blend at high speed until well pureed. Place in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Shake the flour vigorously in a lidded jar with 1/3 cup water until blended. Whisk this mixture into the cashew sauce and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking frequently, until sauce is slightly thickened. Set aside.

Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a small saucepan over high heat with a scant pinch of salt. Stir in bulgur, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, remove and discard most of the green part of the leeks. Cut in half lengthwise and wash under a stream of running water to remove any dirt that is hiding in the leeks' inner layers. Slice crosswise into thin half rounds. Place in a skillet with the carrot, garlic, 1/4 tsp. dried oregano, and 1/4 cup water. Stir and sauté over medium heat until water has evaporated and vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash the eggplants and cut out the stem ends. Without peeling, cut them in half lengthwise, then cut the halves lengthwise into 1/2” slices. Place oil in a 9/13” baking dish. Use the oil in the baking dish to rub each slice scantily with oil. Be sure to oil both sides. (Rub the dish with whatever oil remains after this process.) Broil the eggplant slices until browned, but only slightly tender, about 5 minutes per side. When you turn the slices over, sprinkle them with the remaining 1 tsp. dried oregano, crushing it between your fingers as you do to create a finer texture.

Ladle about a cup of sauce into the baking dish. Arrange half the broiled eggplant slices over the sauce. Place the bulgur over the eggplant in an even layer, then spoon the leeks evenly over the bulgur. Ladle all but a cup of the remaining sauce over this layer. Arrange the remaining eggplant over the top, pressing down lightly to compact everything. Top with the remaining sauce. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Serve hot.




Comments:

This recipe was delicious! It is kind of a lot of work but I had almost everything on hand. Could it be made ahead of time and cooked later? Would that be bad for the flavor and/or texture?
EM, Albany NY


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