Friday, February 8, 2013

How to Make a Vegetarian Chickpea Stew

Here are instructions for how to make a hearty (and possibly spicy) vegetarian chickpea stew. Serve it over quinoa, brown rice or mashed potatoes; it makes for a great winter weekend (snowstorm optional) lunch or dinner.

Heat fat (i.e. coconut oil, butter, olive oil) in a large sauté pan and, when hot, add some minced onion and minced ginger. Stir occasionally so they don't burn; when they start to soften (about 4 or 5 minutes), add minced garlic and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes. Add ground cinnamon and (your choice) ground coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, etc., plus salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Add strained tomatoes and stir. (I use about 20 ounces because I use about 16 ounces of chickpeas. Use more or less, but try to keep the ratio about the same so your stew isn't too thin or too thick. Strained or pureed tomatoes work the best; diced tomatoes will need more cooking time in order to thicken.)

Add cubes of vegetables (onions, peppers, carrots, zucchini, eggplant) to this sauce and cook for about 25 minutes over medium heat. Make sure to stir occasionally so the tomato sauce doesn't burn; the vegetables will soften and the sauce will thicken.

Add cooked chickpeas and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and reseason accordingly. A little fresh lemon juice helps bring out flavor. If the stew is too spicy or you want a little sweetness, add a little honey.

Like most stews, soups and braises, this dish's flavor will improve as it sits in the refrigerator.

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