After a weekend of over-indulgence, I’m always in the mood for something that’s really quick and healthy.
I definitely don’t want anything with meat or cheese in it. For once.
This recipe was inspired by a recipe that was in the most recent Bon Appetit. I say inspired because I changed almost every main ingredient except chickpeas. The original had chicken in it, but I felt like keeping it veggie packed so I nixed the chicken and added in a few potatoes and some kale.
The bonus piece of cutting out the chicken is that it also trims about 20 minutes off of your prep time.
1) Add olive oil to a large heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for a few minutes until fragrant.
2) Add in cubed potatoes, tomato paste, and cumin. Turn the heat up to medium and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
3) Add in vegetable stock, chickpeas, bay leaves, roasted red peppers, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer until potatoes are soft, another 10 minutes.
4) Stir in kale and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
5) Break up some crusty bread in the bottom of a bowl. Ladle stew over bread. Serve immediately.
A Basic Stew
I think one of the best things you can learn as an at-home cook is to master the simple veggie stew. Learn how to balance the spices and flavors in a stew and you can usually make a fantastic meal with a few fresh veggies, a few canned foods, and some simple stock and spices.
For this version (and for a lot of stews that I make), these are some of the basics.
I was worried that by cutting out the chicken, my stew wouldn’t have enough body to be really filling. I’m not sure if that’s entirely true because there’s still bread in the soup also.
But, I decided to add in a few chopped potatoes at the last minute.
I liked the potato addition, but I also think it would’ve worked fine without them.
Canned chickpeas makes this stew super-quick. It would add on at least an hour to use dried chickpeas and I’m not sure you would get much for your extra work.
Just be sure to drain and rinse the chickpeas well.
I think I’m almost in the market for a new strainer…
Making the Stew
To start the stew, we need to infuse some oil with two really flavorful things: garlic and red pepper flakes.
The key to doing this correctly is cooking the garlic and pepper flakes over fairly low heat for a few minutes. If you crank the heat to high, you’ll completely char the garlic.
Instead, just add them to the olive oil over medium-low heat for a few minutes. When it starts to get really fragrant, you know it’s ready to go. The garlic shouldn’t even be browned really.
Next, add in the potatoes, tomato paste, and cumin.
This will immediately start to smell amazing. Stir it all together and let it cook for a few minutes. You can turn your heat up a bit to medium at this point.
After a few minutes of that, just pour in the vegetable stock, add the bay leaves and chickpeas, and bring the whole thing to a simmer.
At this point the stew is pretty much done when the potatoes are cooked through which will probably take another 10 minutes or so.
Finishing the Stew
There’s a few ingredients to add to the end of the stew that completely make it in my opinion. First, roasted red peppers. Honestly, I’m not sure that I’ve ever had roasted red peppers in a stew before but they worked great and paired really well with the chickpeas.
Next, I added some chopped kale. You could also use something like swiss chard if you wanted. A leafy, sturdy green really helps the stew out though.
One of the most important ingredients is lemon juice. The acid just makes all the flavors really pop. Don’t forget it!
Once all that stuff is stirred in, just season it with salt and pepper and you’re ready to go.
This stew took me about 30 minutes to make and I was taking photos and stuff. You could probably make it even faster!
Serving the Stew
The stew tastes good as-is, but to really turn it into a meal, just put about 1/2 cup of torn bread into the bottom of your bowl before you serve it. Any super-crusty and slightly stale bread will work great.
Then just ladle on the stew with some of the broth and you’re all set.
Betsy and I devoured this and we had plenty for leftovers also.
Give this a shot this week if you are crunched for time and looking for something healthy and filling!