If you don’t love chickpeas already I’m going to go ahead and blame that on the lack of chickpeas in your life. They are one of the most versatile legume out there and what’s more are the key ingredient in my new favorite meatless dinner (that doesn’t involve eating a whole block of cheese straight from the fridge): chickpea stew. The version I eat is altered from the original, or else I wouldn’t bother writing about it here, but I can tell already that this is the sort of recipe that lends itself to Madonna-amounts of reinvention.
This is the sort of stew you can eat, and want to eat, in summer. It’s meatless but bolstering, and the lemon makes it refreshing and the honey, complex. If you keep a reasonably-stocked pantry and a few vegetables on hand, you can throw this together any night of the week, the suggested cous cous is not required.
I used the green onions I grew in my own garden for this, and even though I grew them for this purpose, it was still hard for me to rip it out of the ground when the time came. I had nurtured this little plant. Watered it, protected it. Part of me wanted to shout I’M YOUR MOTHER! as I pulled it from the earth.
Instead of using olive oil I cooked a few slices of bacon in the pan before I got the stew started and used the rendered fat in lieu of oil. The bacon is excellent crumbled over the stew at the end. It kind of ruins the whole meatless aspect when you do that, but that’s life.
- 2 tbs olive oil or bacon fat
- 1 cup diced scallions, white parts only
- 2 tbs minced garlic
- 1/2 cup celery
- 1/2 cup mushrooms
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1-3 tsp honey
- 1-3 tps lemon juice
- 1/2 cup dried parsley
- salt and pepper
- splash of Marsala wine
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 1 cup cauliflower, chopped
1. Heat the pan to medium heat and add the fat of your choice. Swirl to coat the pan and add the scallions. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and the Marsala, and let cook for five more minutes.
2. Add the garlic, thyme, and cumin. Cook for two minutes.
3. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes and their juices, the broth, lemon juice, honey, salt, pepper, and celery, cauliflower and carrots. I chopped up some of the scallion greens and added them at this point, too. Bring up to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Let cook, uncovered for 20 minutes. The original recipe says to skim off the foam but let’s be honest here. I am much too lazy for that.
4. At this point you can either stir in your parsley and serve it mixed in, or let everyone add it to their own bowl and mix it in. Since we eat with a toddler, we opted for the latter.
Instead of cous cous I toasted some tortillas in a pan with a bit of oil and served wedges of those along side. The whole time we were eating this Anthony and I were aching for some feta, which would have put this dish into a whole new realm of deliciousness. As it was it was fantastic. The lemon and honey hit the perfect note of bright and savory. It was filling but we didn’t feel weighed down.
Isobel ate a ton and kept asking for additional mushrooms, which made me burst with mycologic pride. She even ate the chickpeas after we started calling them Magic Beans. My toughest critic approves!