Beef Shanks with Eggplant and Watercress is one the many meat and vegetable stews or legumes, as some may call it, I often cook. The recipe may change slightly but the main ingredients eggplant and watercress do not alter. Those two ingredients go very well with each other. Watercress, with its unique peppery and tangy flavor, embraces the somewhat bitter taste of the eggplant.
Remember when you were younger and everyone around you would always say that vegetables should be part of your daily diet. Has anything changed since then? I don’t think so. There are no more excuses; there are too many vegetables to choose and eat. I usually find myself mixing different vegetables together and sometimes also with meat, so I don’t get too tired of eating the same thing all the times.
I love and hate eggplant. I love eggplant because it is a versatile vegetable or as correctly described, a fruit and specifically a berry. When cooked with other ingredients the taste is always excellent. I hate eggplant because it retains water when boiled and when fried it keeps the oil.
By the way, I want to share with you that freezing eggplant is not okay. It is best to store in a cool, dry place or the refrigerator for several days. When frozen, it does not cook well and is difficult to mash if the recipe calls for mashed eggplant. So, always buy it when needed.
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This dish is made with beef shanks because the legs become very moist when mixed with vegetables. They take a long time to cook because shanks are a bit tough because they are part of the leg. Fresh spices marinated the meat for at least two hours. Tomatoes, peppers, onions and Italian seasoning finished the dish.
Beef Shanks with Eggplant and Watercress can be eaten with root vegetables such as potatoes, yucca, yam, and plantains. It can also be eaten with grains such as rice or even bulgur wheat.
Hope you like it. And don’t forget to try it with another type of spices and vegetables.
Beef Shanks with Eggplant and Watercress
- 2 lb beef shanks about 2 whole shanks
- 1 lime
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large eggplant cubed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup unsalted tomato sauce
- ½ cup sweet peppers sliced
- 1 cup onions sliced
- 2 cups watercress cleaned, rinsed and roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon scotch bonnet peper finely chopped
- pepper to taste
- Squeeze lime, reserve juice and clean meat with rinds. Rinse meat under running water, pat dry and set aside.
- In a mortar and pestle, crush garlic, parsley, thyme, scotch bonnet, black pepper and salt. Crush until a paste is formed.
- Add spice paste and lime juice to meat and rub. Place in a container, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Cook beef in heavy pot on medium to low heat with marinade for 30 to 45 minutes. Do not add water. The meat should cook in its own juice. If more water is needed, add very little hot water as necessary.
- Peel and cut eggplant in cubes and add to another pot. Add water to cover eggplant and cook until fully cooked and very soft for about 15 minutes. Drain water from eggplant, do not discard water, and mash eggplant thoroughly. Set aside.
- Remove beef from pot and set aside. There should not be a lot of cooking liquid left. In same pot, add oil and tomato sauce. Let cook for about 2 -3 minutes. Add meat back to pot and stir. Add peppers, onion, watercress and eggplant. Stir and let cook covered for 15 minutes. Add mixture of dried spices, such as bay leaves, basil, oregano and marjoram, or a blend of Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste and cover for 10 minutes until meat and veggies are fully cooked. Serve hot with rice.