Friday, May 17, 2013

Greek Style Vegetable & Bean Stew



If you've stuck with me for awhile, you've probably seen many globally-influenced vegetable stews here. Affordable, transportable and wholesome, they're often taken to work with a side of rice or a piece of crusty bread. I work in a busy crisis center. My dinners are eaten at my desk, while doing lots of other things. It's not an ideal situation. I make the best of it by cooking stews like this reliable 
standby. A healthy source of protein, nourishment and comfort, I just reheat and eat.





Greek Style Stew Recipe

Some Notes:

Like this recipe and this one, my Greek Style Vegetable stew is an example of  just how satisfying and hearty a vegetarian supper can be. Served with rice, it forms a complete protein.

If you don't like chickpeas, replace them with white beans/cannellini beans or use a combo of both chickpeas and white beans. Make it your own recipe.

Like my Lebanese grandmother taught me, I often add just a wee pinch of cinnamon and allspice to my Greek and Arabic dishes. Have you ever wondered what makes meals from both these cuisines taste so good? Chances are there are tiny pinches of subtle spices in each dish. You can leave these spices out with good results. But they really do add a soft background flavor that makes this stew a little more special. Plus, your kitchen will smell divine as it's cooking.

Garbanzo Bean Flour  mixed with cold water and stirred in at the end of cooking is a wonderful thickener for vegetable stews. They often need creamy texture and more body. This secret ingredient and technique remedies that problem. Watery vegetarian stews will be a thing of the past if you use this technique. I find it online or in the regular supermarket.

I love Pomi Chopped Tomatoes for their unmatched clean, garden-ripe taste. They come in a box instead of a can. If you can find them, grab them. Best quality canned tomatoes are good too.

The stew is started on the stove and finished in the oven for even cooking and a delicious, homey flavor.

This recipe makes an entire pot-full and reheats well. Pair it with a glass of red wine, steamed rice  and a sprinkling of flaky Mediterranean sea salt.

You'll Need:
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped. You pick the colors. I use red and green.
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced. I use a mircroplane zester to mince it.
  • 2 baking potatoes, peeled and chopped.
  • 2 16 ounce cans of chickpeas or white beans, rinsed and drained.
  • 1 26.46 box of Pomi Chopped Tomatoes or almost all of a 28 ounce can of best quality chopped tomatoes.
  • 1 cup of water
  •  Extra virgin olive oil for cooking. I use unfiltered.
  • Drizzle of honey or a pinch of sugar to balance the acid in the tomatoes.
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano. Rub it between your fingers to release the flavor.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of marjoram. (optional)
  • 2 dried bay leaves, remember to remove them before serving.
  • Tiny pinch of ground allspice and ground cinnamon (optional but very good)
  • Sea salt or kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste  
  • 2 tablespoons of garbanzo bean flour mixed with two tablespoons of cold water (see notes)
  • Freshly chopped parsley, fresh mint, flaky sea salt, a drizzle of good fruity olive oil, steamed rice, crusty bread, fine bulgur wheat or quinoa are serving options.

The Rundown:

In a dutch oven or an oven safe pot with a lid, saute the onions and peppers on medium to medium high heat with some olive oil, salt and pepper. It helps to cover the pot. Add a little water if you don't want to use too much oil to steam-saute them.

Once the peppers and onions are soft, add the potatoes, garlic, chickpeas, tomatoes, water, honey, spices, seasonings, bay leaves and more salt and pepper. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Immediately turn down the heat, simmer, covered for about 10 minutes.  

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After 10 minutes of stove top simmering, place the pot in the oven and cook for an additional 20 minutes. When the stew is finished cooking, remove bay leaves. Stir in the garbanzo bean flour and water mixture. Adjust the seasonings. Serve with options listed above. Enjoy!



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Moroccan Chickpea Stew

8 comments:

  1. Recently discovered your blog... LOVE finding recipes daily that appeal to me. Going to make this one TODAY!!!

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    Replies
    1. Hello There, thank you for visiting me here, and for the kind words! I hope you enjoy this stew. Happy Cooking!

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  2. I absolutely love bean stews! They can make an absolutely wonderful and fully satisfying dinner! And, I always had a weak spot for Greek cuisine: I grew up eating a lot of Greek-style and Mediterranean-style food, as well as Turkish cuisine. Love them all!

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    Replies
    1. Julia, I agree. I have a week spot for Greek food too. It reminds me of my Lebanese heritage. I, like you, grew up eating all those cuisines too. They remain my favorites, close to my soul. Thanks for popping by. Always nice seeing you here.

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