1 Large eggplant (about 1.5 lbs)
¼ cup olive oil
1 medium-size green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
½ cup water
2 T Wine vinegar
2 t sugar
½ t salt
½ t oregano
¼ t pepper
Lettuce leaves (optional)
Cut a 2-inch lengthwise strip form top of eggplant. Carefully scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-inch shell, and chop pulp to measure 3 cups, reserving remaining pulp for other uses. Set eggplant shell aside.
Heat oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat; add 3 cups chopped eggplant, green pepper, onion and garlic. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add mushrooms and next 7 ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes or until eggplant is tender.
Cool slightly; cover and chill at least 2 hours. Spoon into lettuce-lined eggplant shell (lettuce is optional for a liner); serve with a crusty bread or bagel chips. This spread is very nice out of the freezer months after summer is gone and fresh eggplant is only a memory. Yield: 3 cups.
*** Try substituting paste with fresh Farmers market tomatoes ***
*** Crumbled bacon is a nice addition to this spread ***