I love making stews, chilis and sauces. It is really an area of cooking where intuition and experimentation are very important. I rarely make things the same way twice. With this recipe I have tried to emulate the process of how I make a stew. It’s pretty spot on, so don’t worry if you want to follow it ad verbatim. If not use this as a guide and feel free to experiment.
The key with making slow cooked stews, sauces, and chilis I always continuously taste, spice, and adjust at different stages throughout the cooking process. When making vegetarian dishes (like sauces and stews) you have the added challange of replicating deep flavours that would often come easily with meat based dishes. This constant spicing and tasting is your best weapon to ensure a satisfying depthof flavour. Also use ingerdients with umami to achieve the depthof flavour as well. (In this recipe I use nutritional yeast and mushrooms)
Chickpea Stew (with Moroccan Flair)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots cut into rounds
3 stalks of celery, sliced
1 onion, diced (+ tiny pinch of salt)
½ sweet onion diced
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 red pepper diced
1 jalapeño, small dice with seeds left in *
½ orange, yellow or red pepper diced
3 tbsp ground Cumin
1 tbsp dry Thyme
1 tbsp Paprika
2 Bay leaves
1 tbsp harissa paste (optional)
¼ tsp cinnamon
2 cups sliced, fresh white or cremini mushrooms
1 can whole tomatoes
4-5 cups of vegetable stock (if using tetra pack stock choose a low sodium one.)
¾ cup dry White wine
2 cans chickpeas
20 turns of Pepper mill
2 tbsp Nutritional yeast (this adds an umami flavour)
½ cup Pomegranate molasses
More cumin, thyme or paprika?
Salt (you will need to add to taste,depends on broth ect)
1 Zucchini, chopped
Chopped walnuts for garnish and crunch
1) Prepare your mis en place. For the canned tomatoes you can gently pulse once or twice in a food processor, or use clean fingers to squish them and break them apart (that’s what I do, its tomato therapy!)
2) Turn your burner on MD-High heat. Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil. Add the onions (and a tiny pinch of salt) fry for a few minutes. The salt helps to bring the moisture out of the onions.
3) add carrots, celery and peppers. Fry for an additional 5 minutes or so.
4) Add the garlic wait 30 seconds, then add the cumin, thyme, paprika and bay leaf, stir and fry for 30 seconds then add the mushrooms and stir for another 30 seconds. (We don’t add the pepper yet as it doesn’t need to be toasted and can burn). Add harrissa if using it, and cinnamon.
5) Add 2 cans of chickpeas (make sure they are drained and rinsed well to get the “gooey nasty can liquid stuff” off. Then add your liquids: wine, tomatoes, vegetable stock. The liquids should cover the chickpeas about an inch or more. Then add the pepper.
6) Turn heat down to medium and cook down stirring occasionally for an hour or so. The liquid should reduce and the stew should start to thicken and”come together” more harmoniously, think chili consistency.
7) At this point add the nutritional yeast, salt, and pomegranate molasses. Taste your stew and adjust seasoning according to your taste. Maybe it needs more salt? Cumin? Depends on many things.Use your stew-‘ tuition.
8) Add your zucchini now. When zucchini is cooked though and stew is of the right taste and consistency to your liking it’s done!
9) Garnish with chopped walnuts. Some might like to garnish with a bit o yogurt as well.
10) Serve with rice, couscous, bulgur and/or some tasty bread (or pita) to soak up the delicious dregs of your bowl. ( I served it with Tabouleh and sourdough)
*If you are afraid of spicy remove the white part and seeds of the jalapeño (that’s where most of the heat lies).
*Admittedly this is still not really hot for people who like spicy food (like moi) as jalapenos are very mild. I was just going for a bit of flavour here, I love fresh green chile flavour! If you want a spicier stew choose a few Serrano’s with seeds and pith left in, and you can also add some ground cayenne (or a ground chile of your choosing) with the paprika and other spices. I fully encourage making it muy picante by whatever means necessary if you so desire!