Another Spectacular Vegetarian Dinner.

I was driving home from a client meeting late Friday afternoon, thinking, “we have no food in the house.”  We really didn’t – we had been out of town last weekend and both of us had been sick all week.  The extent of my cooking adventures for the week had been to make chicken soup on Monday.  I was thinking it was going to be either pizza or Chinese food, delivered.

And then I remembered I had a recipe for garbanzo bean stew, and I thought I would play around with it a bit and see what I had in the pantry.  So I took a cup or so of dry black-eyed peas, and set them on the stove to simmer with some canned chicken broth.  Then I diced a large onion and two carrots – OK we had SOME food in the house – but that and some cilantro was pretty much the extent of the fresh food that went into this meal.  I sauteed the onion and carrot and let them sweat for a bit.  Then I added a can of tomato sauce, about a quarter cup of tomato paste, a can of garbanzo beans, a cup or so of frozen edamame, and a cup or so of a frozen vegetable blend that had corn, peas, carrots and green beans.  I added the black-eyed peas and let the whole thing simmer for a good half hour.  While it was simmering, I threw in a dash of cumin, a few flakes of red chili pepper, some celery seed, curry powder and fresh ground black pepper.  I also added some hot red pepper paste, which I have in a tube.

The original recipe called for fresh red pepper, but I only had a jar of roasted red pepper, so I chopped up about a half cup of that and tossed it in.  The recipe also called for some kalamata olives, and while I wondered if that flavor would mesh well with the rest of what I’d thrown in, I added about a quarter cup of chopped kalamatas.  It was definitely the right thing to do.

And finally, the original recipe instructed me how to make “garlic confit,” which was much easier than it sounded – throw some whole cloves of garlic in a small pan with a pat of butter and let it brown to a light tan.  Then cover it with olive oil and let it simmer slowly for 15 or so minutes (“until the garlic is poached,” the recipe says.).  I pulled out the garlic, chopped it and threw that into my pot of bean-ish stew and put the oil in Tupperware for later use (mmmm, garlic oil!).

I served the stew over brown rice, also cooked with chicken broth – but this whole thing could easily be made vegan by using water or vegetable broth for both the rice and the black-eyed peas.  It was great-tasting and very filling!  And it also made for a great breakfast this morning…..

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