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Chickpea Stew

Chickpea Stew
Wonderfully seasoned but not too spicy, this cold-weather stew is an excellent source of protein, thanks to the chickpeas. For complete protein, serve it with steamed rice.

Garam masala is an Indian spice blend found in stores specializing in Indian foods and in shops with an international selection. You can also make your own: In a dry nonstick fry pan over medium heat, combine 1 cinnamon stick, 4 whole cloves, seeds from 5 cardamom pods, and 1 Tbs. each cumin seeds, coriander seeds and peppercorns. Toast, shaking the pan occasionally, until the spices are aromatic and darkened slightly, about 5 minutes. Let cool, then grind in a spice mill to a fine consistency. Store in a tightly sealed jar at room temperature for up to 6 months.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup dried chickpeas
  • 5 cups vegetable stock (see related recipe at left) or
     canned broth
  • 1 lb. tomatoes, cored
  • 1 lb. baking potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

Pick over the chickpeas and discard any misshapen chickpeas and stones. Rinse the chickpeas and drain. Place in a bowl, add water to cover generously and let soak for 3 hours, then drain.

In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the stock to a boil. Add the chickpeas, reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until almost tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Fill a bowl with ice water. Immerse the tomatoes in the boiling water for 30 seconds, then transfer to the ice water. When the tomatoes have cooled, peel off the loosened skins. Halve the tomatoes horizontally and squeeze out the seed sacs. Chop the tomatoes.

Add the tomatoes, potatoes, garam masala, ginger and turmeric to the stock and continue to cook until the chickpeas and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes more.

Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Transfer half of the stock and vegetables to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Reheat to serving temperature.

Ladle into warmed bowls, sprinkle with the cilantro and serve hot.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Vegetarian for All Seasons, by Pamela Sheldon Johns (Time-Life Books, 1998).