Wine Match: Spiced aubergine and sweet potato ragout with polenta chips

13th June 2014

With over 22 years of chef experience, there is no one better placed to provide us with an assortment of springtime specials than Waitrose Cooker School Head Chef Gordon McDermott.

Gordon has created six delicious dishes for the season, and each one is effortlessly enhanced by a bottle of Fine wine from WaitroseCellar’s Spring Foodie Cellar Case.

This spiced aubergine & sweet potato ragout with polenta chips packs a punch and perfectly pairs with a robust red wine.

Spiced aubergine & sweet potato ragout with polenta chips
Serves 4
Prepare 35 minutes
Cook 1 hour + 30 minutes chilling

For the ragout:
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1 stick of cinnamon
½ tsp hot chilli powder
Pinch Saffron strands
1 large aubergine, diced into 2cm cubes
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
into 1cm cubes
400g can chickpeas, drained
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp honey
50g sultanas
3 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped

For the polenta chips:
140g quick cook polenta
20g butter
50g finely grated mature cheddar
1 tbsp plain flour, for dusting
Sunflower oil, for deep fat frying

For the herb yoghurt:
200ml Greek yogurt
3 tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

1. Start by pre-heating the sunflower oil in a deep-fat fryer to 190°C. To make the ragout, fry the onions and garlic in the olive oil with a pinch of salt over a low heat for 5 minutes. Add the spices and continue to stir for 3 minutes.

2. Add the aubergine, sweet potato and chickpeas and stir well to coat in the spices. Fold the tomatoes, vinegar, honey, 100ml of water and seasoning and bring to the boil. Simmer the ragout, over a low heat for 45 minutes, stirring until the vegetables are tender and the sauce thick and reduced. Add the sultanas for the final 5 minutes of cooking.

3. Meanwhile, make the polenta chips, bring 600ml cold water with a pinch of salt to the boil in a large saucepan. Rain in the polenta, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Simmer over a medium heat for 5 minutes, whisking continuously.

4. When the polenta has thickened, beat in the butter and cheddar. Spread on to a baking tray lined with cling film and set in the fridge for 30 minutes. Once set, cut into chunky ‘chips’ and set aside.

5. Combine the yogurt with the mint and refrigerate. Lightly flour the polenta chips and deep-fry in batches until golden brown and crisp. Remove and drain.

6. To serve, spoon ragout into a large bowl and garnish with the polenta chips. Drizzle over a little herb yogurt and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

Wine Match: Catena Malbec
Mendoza, Argentina. Bin number: 045491
While it’s true that Argentinian Malbec is often at its best with steaks and beef, the rich fruit flavours also pair wonderfully with dishes such as this aubergine ragout. Here, the abundance of spices add extra touches to the dish which calls for a robust wine.

Catena have been producing wines in the Mendoza Valley of Argentina for over 100 years and are renowned for the quality of their wines. This is no exception and is a real delight served with the ragout.

Order any 6 wines or spirits with free delivery at

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