Vegetarian Chili

1 small eggplant, chopped in ½ inch cubes (leave skin on)
Kosher salt (coarse) or fresh grated sea salt
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons high quality, extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 14-ounce can Italian style plum tomatoes
3 fresh Italian plum tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder (be sure it´s gluten free)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian (flat-leafed) parsley
1 cup dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
Chopped fresh dill or parsley to sprinkle on top

Place eggplant in a colander, and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let sit for 1 hour, then pat dry with paper towels. Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a large pan or casserole; sauté the eggplant over medium heat until almost tender. Remove eggplant, and set aside. In the same saucepan, heat 2 more tablespoons oil, and add the onions, green peppers, and garlic. Cook on med.-low until just softened (approximately 8 minutes). Return the eggplant to the dish and add the canned tomatoes with their liquid, the fresh tomatoes, chili, cumin, oregano, basil, pepper and parsley. Simmer over low heat, uncovered, approximately 30 minutes, stirring often. Add the kidney beans and lemon juice, stir, and cook 15 minutes longer. Correct the seasonings. Good served over rice and sprinkled with fresh dill or parsley. Can also be served with cornbread. (4 servings)

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