Fennel, aubergine and tomato stew

I promised myself I wouldn’t talk about the weather, but I can’t help it. What is going on? It feels like January. I am ruing my rash decision to swap from winter to summer duvet, and even contemplating getting the parka down from the attic, I am that bloody cold.When you have children weather becomes more important. You are constantly outdoors and, bound by school holidays, you can’t suddenly go to Morocco for some winter sun in mid-January. I am currently in talks (well, it is a monologue really) with my husband about how we need to move somewhere hotter, like San Francisco, before my toes fall off from hypothermia, or my nose falls off from snivelling.  But he points out annoying flaws in my plan, like our lack of jobs, visas and savings. What a spoilsport.

Along with some sunshine (and our massive Vitamin D deficiency continues, according to this Guardian article yesterday) I am craving carbs. Pie. Mash. Chips. Crumble. Anything heavy and old-fashioned, but am trying to resist with warming but healthier alternatives instead.
Last week I made a vat of minestrone and this week I am going to make in bulk this gorgeous fennel, aubergine and tomato stew. I used to make it loads, but then forgot about it, in the way that you do. I don’t know why, it is very easy (just lots of chopping really) and very tasty, especially when served with a Greek salad and crusty bread.
It hails from the Greek mainland and I found it in a book called The Spice Routes by Chris and Carolyn Caldicott.
Pelion Spetzofai
Start to finish:
15 minutes chopping, 5 minutes stirring, 40 minutes cooking
Serves 4
6 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves chopped garlic
1 sliced red onion
2 sliced red peppers
2 small aubergines – cubed
2 tsp paprika
2 dessertspoon fennel seeds
1 tsp dried oregano
2 chopped red chillis
175g chorizo, cubed
1 bottle passata
1 tbsp tomato puree
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Fry the garlic, onion and peppers until soft. Add the aubergine and sprinkle with salt. Continue to fry until all the vegetables are soft. Then add the paprika, fennel seeds, oregano, chillis, and chorizo. Stir and pour in the passata and puree. Add a splash of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced and rich.
This freezes well.


  1. I love this dish and will try it soon. I just have some aubergines in the fridge waiting! Love the idea of adding fennel too.

  2. I love fennel. I had some seeds last night with savoy cabbage tossed in butter. Gorgeous.

  3. Lovely recipe, thank you, and as aubergines seem to be so cheap in the supermarket at the moment I’m stockpiling more than I know what to do with!

  4. Looks delicious – I shall be cooking it this week! Just a couple of questions – what size jar of passata would you recommend? Also, do you think the chorizo would be ok swopped with chicken? My hubby is not a fan of it although I love it. If you could let me know that would be great! Thanks v much jennie

  5. super site

  6. nice idea.. thanks for sharing.

  7. I’ve just tried this – delicious. We crumbled some feta on the top, with a sprinkling of parsley. Yum yum.


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