I am looking forward to a fun-filled weekend in Hood River, Oregon, home of Tofurky. No, there’s no Tofurky in the chickpea stew, but I cooked up a pot just now so that I can leave my family with something to eat while I’m away enjoying the revelries during their grand opening celebration of their new plant. And yes, I’ll be teaching a couple of classes as part of the festivities, as well as serving up a platter or two of my cheeses.
But looking around in my fridge for something quick to cook up before I get on a plane later today, I found some chickpeas I had cooked up a few days ago. And my husband’s beautiful tomato vines are heavy with fruit.
People always ask me what I eat. “Do you always eat this way? How do you stay so thin?” they ask as I pass around the eclairs. (Yes, do see my eclair recipe in the September/October issue of VegNews.) Or it might not be the eclairs, but the bouef bourgignonne I’m serving (also in the article). Or perhaps a multi-layer crepe cake (see the article again!). If I’m entertaining, you can be sure you’ll get something a bit sophisticated. Which might make you ponder whether I eat like this all the time. You probably won’t get beans.
Well, you might get these beans. These are infused with all of the savory flavors I love – saffron, smoked paprika, olives, garlic. And this is what I normally eat. I love eclairs, but not everyday. I prefer things of a simpler, albeit still flavorful, nature: whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and beans. This dish is easy to prepare, but tasty enough to serve at a casual summer dinner under the late August sun. And you can make it oil-free as well. I prefer green olives for this stew, but all I found in my fridge were kalamata.
- A little water to saute everything, or 2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced thin
- 2 red bell peppers, sliced lengthwise
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
- 2 lbs. tomatoes, diced (about 5 cups - if using cherry tomatoes, no need to dice)
- 3/4 cup whole green olives, pitted (of cut in half and remove pits)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon regular smoked paprika
- 1 very generous pinch saffron
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 large sprigs fresh rosemary
- Heat a large, deep chef's pan or pot, and add a few tablespoons of water (for oil-free cooking), or olive oil. Add the vegetables and garlic, sprinkle with a bit of salt, and saute until tender. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, olives, paprika, saffron, and rosemary. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Even better the next day.