- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 2 medium green bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 1/2 cups medium-grain white rice
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- Hot sauce, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large, deep casserole, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the celery, bell peppers and onion and season with salt. Cover and cook over low heat until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook over moderate heat until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
- Add the eggplant, thyme, black and white peppers and cayenne and season with salt. Cook over moderate heat until the eggplant is softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the soy sauce and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the casserole. Stir in the rice and broth and bring to a boil.
- Cover and bake for 17 minutes, until the rice is just tender. Remove from the oven and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice and serve with hot sauce.
Fruit-forward, light-bodied reds, like a Dolcetto d’Alba, go well with hearty vegetable dishes, like this fragrant rice.