It’s true: chickpeas are most famous as the key ingredient in hummus. But to reduce chickpeas to just hummus would be a mistake; they have a lot to offer in all sorts of savory dishes. In particular, chickpeas provide the anchor for this recipe for braised chickpeas and vegetables with coconut sauce and lemon.
Slow-cooking legumes and vegetables allows for a tender texture with maximum flavor. Chickpeas add a rich flavor base to the dish, as well as a hearty dose of healthy protein. They provide a nutty, flavorful backdrop to a melange of slow-cooked veggies, including mushrooms and brussels sprouts. Served in a rich, creamy coconut sauce with a contrasting touch of lemon, this is a creative vegetable dish, and the type of stew that vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike will love.
Before we get cooking, let’s discuss the basics of this dish and how to ensure success.
Braising: what it means. It’s a common misconception that braising is just for meat. On the contrary, just about any food can be braised, from meats to vegetables and even fruit. Simply put, to “braise” is to lightly fry a food, then stew it slowly in a sealed container. Braising brings out the flavor of whatever you’re cooking, and gives it a tender texture.
In the case of this recipe, the components braised include aromatics (garlic, onion, and ginger), chickpeas, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, and tomato (technically a fruit!). Once these items are braised, the kale is incorporated for a full, rich flavor.
Making a vegetable stew: the basics. A hearty vegetable stew can be a thing of great culinary beauty. However, if you don’t follow the instructions, it could also turn out mushy and unremarkable. These tips and tricks will help you create the best vegetable stew you can possibly make.
The keys to success with this recipe:
Mise en place. Make sure that you have all of your materials ready before starting the recipe. This means having cooking vessels and utensils set out and ready, and prepping your ingredients by measuring, chopping, and having them arranged within easy reach. All of this should be done before you turn on the heat on your stovetop.
While it might seem time consuming, it will actually probably reduce your total time spent, as you won’t have to pause during the cooking process to fetch or prep an ingredient. This will make your cooking more efficient and make it less likely to forget an ingredient or get flustered and miss a step.
Adding ingredients in the correct order. Think it’s a good idea to speed things up by putting them all in the pan at once? Resist the urge. The order in which ingredients are added to a vegetable stew matter.
It usually goes like this: aromatics and slower-cooking ingredients are typically added first, as they need more time to cook and release their flavor. Softer or quicker-cooking ingredients should be added in the order of their cook time; for instance, in this recipe, mushrooms are added after the more firm and slower-cooking brussels sprouts, but before the rapidly-cooking kale.
Adding ingredients in an order which reflects their varying cook times will help ensure the best texture, flavor, and recipe success.
Use good quality ingredients. Your finished stew is only as good as the ingredients you employ, so use the best quality ingredients you are able to find. Use fresh ingredients from a trusted source.
If you are unable to find any of the ingredients at peak freshness, you can easily substitute with a similar ingredient. For instance, if you can’t find kale, it can be substituted with fresh spinach; cherry tomatoes can be substituted with diced whole tomatoes.
Recipe: braised vegetables and chickpeas with coconut sauce and lemon. This easy to follow recipe will yield a hearty, rich vegetable stew.
Makes 4 servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small or ½ large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 cup brussels sprouts, cut into fourths (or halves for small sprouts)
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 15 ounces (1 can) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1 large bunch kale
- 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
- 1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- salt, to taste
- Place the oil in a large saute pan that you have a lid for. Once it begins to shimmer in the bottom of the pan, add the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion begins to brown.
- Reduce the heat to low. Add the brussels sprouts, and cover the pot. Let the veggies and aromatics cook for 15 minutes, or until softened.
- Once softened, add the mushrooms, chickpeas, and tomatoes. Increase the heat slightly, and cover again. Let cook for about 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat again to low. Add the kale, tearing it into small portions and adding it a few handfuls at a time, waiting for each portion to begin to wilt slightly before adding the next. Continue to cook, uncovered now, stirring frequently. Within minutes, the kale will wilt and incorporate itself into the dish.
- Add the coconut milk, lemon juice, and salt. Let the mixture continue to cook, on low heat, until the liquid has been absorbed to your liking. You can cook longer for a thicker consistency, less time for a more soup-like consistency. Give it a taste, and add more salt or lemon juice to taste.
- Serve warm, either alone, or with rice, potatoes, or quinoa.
Serving and storage tips: This dish is wonderful enjoyed right away, but it tastes even better the next day. Be sure to store the leftovers in an airtight container. If you don’t, they can impart an odor and flavor on other foods in your fridge; this is not so great when the item in question is a slice of cake or yogurt. You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Conclusion: Everyone should have a vegetable stew recipe in their repertoire. Not only is it a dish which can be enjoyed by vegetarians and vegans, but it will certainly please non-vegetarians as well. This simple stew is a healthy way to get your daily vegetables and enjoy a delicious dinner at the same time.
Have you ever made a vegetable stew?