Saturday, March 5, 2011

Warm Chick Pea Stew - 7 Meals for under $15

My challenge in the 7 Meals Under $15 was the Warm Chickpea Stew. The first time I tasted chickpea stew was at Gjelina on Abbot Kinney in Venice, and as a thick vegetarian stew goes that was rated very high on my yummy radar. Then I decided to take gluten out of my diet and I couldn't eat the Gjelina's stew because there's couscous in it. When I saw this recipe I jumped at the chance to make it gluten free, this recipe has brown rice instead of couscous.

It was a beautiful morning this morning in Topanga. I woke up early and after a little breakfast I felt inspired to make the stew. I had all the ingredients at my fingertips. In my usual way, I altered the recipe just slightly to match my own particular taste, but not too much because I wanted to stick as closely as possible to the original recipe.

While I was chopping and prepping and thinking about how fun this blog thing is, my phone rang and it was the wonderful Vicki herself, perfect timing, since she's the reason I'm blogging these days. Vicki and I chatted through most of my preparation and cooking, with Vicki on speaker on the kitchen counter while I chopped and stirred. (It's a fun way to cook!)

Here's the recipe, enjoy!

Warm Chickpea Stew
Prep time: 15 mins
Total time: 75 mins
Serves: 8

1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/2 cup diced onions (2 medium onions)
3/4 cup diced celery (2 stalks)
2 diced medium carrots (carrots were not in the orig. recipe, I added them)
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 (28 oz) can organic diced tomatoes and their juices
3 cups organic vegetable stock (the orig recipe called for chicken stock, I prefer vegetable stock) [note: if store bought, buy low sodium]
20 oz can of organic chickpeas, rinsed
14 oz can of organic lentils, rinsed
1/2 cup short grain brown rice
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp fresh organic lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves (I used 6 fresh basil leaves instead)
1 bayleaf (I added this to the recipe)

Heat the olive oil in a medium stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the diced onions, celery and carrots and cook for approx. 4 minutes. Add the ginger, turmeric, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook, stirring constantly for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and their juices, stirring well. Add the vegetable stock, lentils and chickpeas. Bring to a boil.

Add the rice and salt and lower the stew to a simmer. Cook covered for 60 minutes or until the rice is tender. Add the basil leaves and lemon juice, continue to cook for a couple more minutes. Serve in warmed soup bowls, you can garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs if you wish.

When I served the stew for lunch today I served it warm and not hot, so we could really enjoy all the delicious spices. It was a perfect Saturday lunch, but I would serve it anytime. ENJOY!

Joan's notes: This was a quick and easy recipe and within an hour we were enjoying a bowl of yummy nutritious stew. Next time I will crumble a mild goat cheese on top when serving the stew. While I was chatting with Vicki this morning I challenged myself next time to cook the chickpeas and lentils from scratch rather than using canned ingredients, this will add to the cooking time of course, but these can easily be cooked the day before and refrigerated until I need them. I rinsed both the lentils and chickpeas under cold water which removed some of the sodium added in the canning process, but I am curious to know how different this stew will be with home cooked ingredients.

Till next time.

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