"Wonderful, rich vegetarian crockpot dish starring potato, eggplant and tomatoes. We serve it over garlic couscous, but it would be just as good over rice, quinoa or alone. It's a little extra work with the precooking but the flavors come together so beautifully it's worth it."
In a bowl combine mushrooms and hot water, stir well. Let stand 30 min. Strain and separate 1/2 liquid from the rest of the liquid.
Meanwhile, cut potatoes in half and each half cut into 4 pieces.
In skillet, heat 2 T. Oil over med-high heat. Add potatoes in batches and cook until browned on all sides - 7 min. Per batch. Transfer to slow cooker. Add remaining oil to pan and add eggplant in batches and cook in both sides until lightly browned - 2 min. per side. Layer over potato.
In skillet, reduce to medium and add onion to pan. Cook stirring until softened - 3 min. Add garlic, salt, peppcorns, thyme and chopped mushrooms. Cook 1 min. Add tomatoes with juice and 1/2 c. mushroom juice. Bring to a boil. Pour over eggplant mixture. Add as much of the extra juice as you'd like.
Cover and cook until hot and bubbly and veg are tender. Low = 6 hours / High = 3 hours.
Lay bell pepper on top and cook on high for 5 more min. & enjoy.