For the most part – they’ve been there a year.
Back last October when I was preparing for the “Party with a Pretty Dress”, in the middle of packing the truck for the 5 hour drive, I rationally ran to the market and picked up 15 cans of discount chickpeas. Thinking, that on top of all the other things I was making for the wedding, I’d whip up a gallon of fresh hummus as well… since I obviously didn’t have enough to do.
I tend to over-plan. I tend to bite off more than I can chew. I tend to take the short bus to Crazytown at times. When I get like that people really ought to handcuff me to a steam table and spoon feed me ritalin until I succumb into a coma.
Somewhere in the wee hours the day before the event, I came to my senses and bought readi-made hummus.
But that left me with a boatload of chickpeas, and since it’s almost their birthday….
Chickpea Stew –
Riding the trolley several years ago while I was in Vancouver, I struck up a chance conversation with a Lebanese family who invited me to dinner. The opportunity to forego a typical restaurant dinner and have a traditional dinner with a real Lebanese family was just too good to pass up. Between the copious amounts of tea, cabbage rolls, and cracked wheat – was this rich and spicy chickpea stew. I’ve tried a couple of times in the past to recreate the exact spice mixture, but I’ve never gotten it quite right.
This recipe is based on the Bon Appetit Quick Chickpea Stew Recipe, and comes pretty close to the dish I was originally served.
A couple of things about the stew:
1. I’m not a huge fan of canned chickpeas, or lightly cooked chickpeas for that matter. In most of the recipes it is a fairly quick dish (less than an hour) so the peas still have a fair amount of bite to them and I find that rawness texture unappealing. I’ve chosen to use a slow cooker to soften the peas considerably and leave you with something silky and somewhat creamier (More like little pillows of hummus), and closer to the dish I was served.
2. I realize that my recipe contains pork – and pork isn’t something that an Arab family would have used. But, pork is what I have on hand at the moment, so it gets used. If you want something closer to traditional substitute an equal part of either boneless chicken thighs or lamb.
3. You will note that I’ve significantly decreased the amount of water used in the recipe because we’re dealing with slow and low cooking. Boiling things away in a quart of water just isn’t necessary.
Plate Fodder Slow Cooker Chickpea Stew
2 Cans Chickpeas – Drained
1 1/2 Cups Diced Pork Roast (keep the dices to 2″ – it will result in better shreds of pork once everything is cooked)
3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 Bay Leaf
1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Paprika
4 Tablespoons Oil – Divided
4 Cloves Roasted Garlic
Zest and Juice from 1 Lemon
1 Cup Sweet Pepper – Julienne (typically I’ll use Dulcetta Peppers, but any sweet bell or non hot red chili will do)
1 Santa Fe or Jalapeno Chili – Seeded and Diced
1/4 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Parsley – Chopped
3 Cups Cubed Hearty Bread (about 1″ Cubes)
Medium Saute Pan
Heat 1/2 the oil in the saute pan and lightly brown the pork (or chicken or lamb if you’re going that route)
Place all the ingredients (EXCEPT the lemon juice and zest), and the remaining oil in the slow cooker
Stir everything together, cover and set to high
Cook for 5 hours
At 5 hours, remove the cover, stir in the juice and zest; recover – change the setting to low and cook for an additional 45 minutes
Place the bread cubes on a sheet pan and toast in the oven until evenly browned
Place a quarter of the cubed bread in the bottom of a shallow bowl and spoon 2 ladles of the stew over them
Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley over the top and serve