I interrupt our regularly scheduled Emergency Delectable Measures post to bring you this delicious recipe: Red Wine Braised Chickpeas. The first in hopefully a long list of Veggie Man Days posts.
Veggie Man Days came about like this. I love the idea of Meatless Mondays (or whatever day of the week you choose really) for those who normally eat a diet heavy in animal proteins. And, although I’m not insinuating that women are more likely to be vegetarian or any kind of stereotype like that, in my marriage, that seems to be the status quo. I lean toward the veggies, he leans toward the meat.
But although the BHH hates when I call anything vegan or vegetarian or healthy or gluten free, he will eat anything good. If I just say “I made you this awesome thing” and he tastes it and it’s great, then it’s a winner. He doesn’t care what’s in it. On the other hand, he does prefer more “manly” meals as he puts them. Not light little raw bites. Nothing wimpy. A meal to fuel tree cutting and gardening and hiking.
Ok, mister man, you got it!
This is the BHH’s favorite veggie meal. He’ll request it. He likes me to make it when we’re having people over in order to show off. We’ve had it a variety of ways. Over sautéed greens, over quinoa, scooped up by papadum and soaked up by cornbread. I think I even served it in pumpkin bowls one time last year.
I didn’t invent this one. It came from The Artful Vegan, by the Millennium Restaurant. I did tweak it ever so slightly. But as I always say, one of my best cook qualities is my eye. I can sense a winning recipe before ever cooking it and this one is surely a winner. Make a double batch. You’ll want to freeze some. Come to think of it, triple it.
Red-Wine Braised Chickpeas
Lightly adapted from The Artful Vegan
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 leeks, white part and about an inch of the green, cut into small dice
2-3 Parsnips (if in season)
2 carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
2 cups dry red wine (I like something hearty, see note below)
4 cups cooked chickpeas
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (I like the oil-cured kind for more flavor)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots (sulfate free, organic, if possible)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
Freshly ground black pepper and toasted sliced almonds for serving
- heat the olive oil in a deep skillet or heavy-bottomed braising pan over medium –high heat.
- Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, or until it just begins to brown.
- Add the leeks, onions, parsnips (if using) and carrots, and sauté, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until the leeks just start to wilt.
- Add the rosemary and cumin seeds. Sauté for another minute.
- Add 1 cup of the wine and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the remaining 1cup wine and the chickpeas, stock and sun-dried tomatoes, apricots and salt. Simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by one-half.
- Stir in the cornstarch slurry and simmer a few minutes to thicken.
- Sprinkle with toasted, sliced almonds and salt and pepper to taste.
This will make a semi-runny stew. It is great served over wilted spinach or sautéed greens of some sort, for traditional comfort food pair it with corn bread or a rustic bread (like a crusty olive loaf). Toasted papadum are wickedly great when dipped. Corn chips work too. You can even ladle it over quinoa or couscous or rice. Versatile! The original recipe called for making chickpea socca, or soft chickpea flour crepes, but I find this meal pretty heavy and so mostly prefer it over the greens with the “starchy thing” as a side note. One day I will post the crepe recipe, tweaked Delectable style, anyway!
Also, choose a wine you wouldn’t mind drinking. They key to cooking with wine is to use something affordable but not crappy, since it’s the quality of the wine, not the alcohol, that you’ll taste. I like a good Sangiovese, red Zinfandel, Cabernet or even Shiraz here. Primitivo or an affordable Super Tuscan would also work here. We used a reasonable Nero D’Avola in one batch. But anything rich and red is great. And, if you don’t know what these are, we need a wine lesson. Don’t worry the alcohol cooks off completely in the simmering process. I often add extra throughout the cooking process for deeper flavor. I use almost a whole bottle by the end and the BHH sips at the rest while I cook.