Start with eggplant
Add pork, and let onion partner as main element.
An herb to enliven the whole - oregano would be a change of pace - then all I needed was a protein. I settled on pork, but chicken would do well. Or the dish easily could have remained vegetarian, maybe served over protein-rich quinoa.
I kept the onions in large chunks, instead of a small dice, as I wanted them to partner as a featured element with the eggplant. Their relative youth made for a mild, sweet flavor. The vegetables, with the help of wine, softened to a slightly soupy consistency, creating their own deeply flavored sauce. And the very thin-bodied Melrose peppers, sautéed briefly right at the end, provided crunch and vibrant color.
Eggplant with Pork, Onions, Peppers
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
1 large eggplant or 2 medium, about 1 pound, cut in 3/4-inch cubes
3 bulb onions, cut in 1/2-inch slices or chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound boneless pork, such as loin or sirloin chops, in 3/4-inch cubes
3/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
4 Melrose peppers, sliced lengthwise in thin strips
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or chives
1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet; add the eggplant and onions. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to soften, 10 minutes. Transfer vegetables to a bowl.
2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet. Add the pork; cook, stirring as needed, until all sides begin to color, 5 minutes.
3. Return eggplant and onion to skillet; add the wine. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, just until pork is tender and cooked through, 3-5 minutes. Season with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Transfer all to a bowl.
4. Add pepper strips to skillet; increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until just beginning to softened, 1-2 minutes. (The peppers should remain crisp.)
5. Stir peppers and oregano into the pork and vegetables. Serve over rice, if you like.
Note: Another variety of small sweet pepper can be subbed for the Melrose peppers.
Per serving: 305 calories, 17 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 77 mg cholesterol, 11 g carbohydrates, 27 g protein, 350 mg sodium, 5 g fiber.