Monday, October 10, 2011
Chickpea Stew, a vegetarian meal
Sometimes your body just needs a little nourishment à la vegetables. Before working in the kitchen I ate meat but it wasn't commonplace by any means in my diet. It would happen when I went out to restaurants or every blue moon at my house. Meat was expensive to buy and as the poor student I mostly just didn't bother.
In the past year and a half my diet has shifted and become much more meat heavy because of working in a restaurant. Everyday staff meal has a meat component or a meaty star (i.e. meatloaf, braised chicken, beef stew, sloppy joes, fried chicken). My body has adjusted nicely and for all that talk about the unhealthy fats of meat I seem to be getting thinner rather than larger. (I should interject here that our staff meal bowls serve about 1/3 of the amount I'd normally eat at a meal, and it is my firm belief that butter and other fats aren't actually bad for us, so long as we eat them in moderation).
Nevertheless, in tow with my new diet I have been exploring meats in my days off as well, shoveling out the extra cash to practice at home or develop my palette. Yesterday I went to a new butcher shop specializing in local organic sustainably-raised everything and ate their sandwich of the day: brown butter sage beef sausage with summer squash and thinly sliced red onions on a fresh roll. It was delicious, so much so that I devoured that sandwich with all four sausages, which is three more sausages than I would normally eat and that my body really wanted to handle at that moment. I knew that for dinner and possibly into the next day I needed some vegetable detox to balance myself out. I went shopping at the grocery store and got the ingredients for a chickpea stew to make at my friends house. Nourishing, healthy, spicy, and not lacking in the flavor department. I was well fulfilled after this meal and my body felt balanced and at peace with itself.
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic (more or less depending if you're a garlic fiend)
1 carrot, small diced
1 can crushed tomato
A few cups vegetable stock (onion, carrot, leek + whatever else, boiled for a couple hours and strained)
1 15oz can garbonzo beans/chickpeas/pois-chiches/ceci, or dried beans cooked separately
1 medium potato, cut in smallish-medium cubes
1 squash, cut however you like
Kale, taken off the stems and cut into smaller pieces
Some eggs (the fresher the better, I had just bought fresh farm eggs)
Spices: A lot: cumin, paprika/cayenne pepper
A little: crushed pepper (for spice), nutmeg, ground ginger, cinnamon
Salt + pepper
Sweat onions till translucent. Add carrots, sweat, then add the garlic and cook till nice and fragrant (without browning). Add spices, then add tomato product and veg stock (to cover all the ingredients with a little extra room but not to make it too soupy). Bring to a boil and adjust seasonings. Add the garbonzos (either cooked separately or drained and washed from the can) and potatoes, simmer until the potatoes are cooked through. Add the squash and kale and cook for a few more minutes. Put the stew into a baking-friendly dish, crack some raw eggs on top, and put it under the broiler in the oven until the eggs hold together (but still have runny yolks). Serve over couscous, rice, quinoa, or anything else.