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Smoked Paprika Chickpea Stew {Vegan}

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The making of a good stew depends less on talent and more on will. Specifically, are you willing to let go and create disorder in the kitchen?

Take my friend, Katy, for example. Katy is a baking marvel. She is the Muhammad Ali of the convection oven, pitying the fool who dares rival her in the éclair, financier, and cream puff arena. But she is no stew-maker. She follows recipes the way literalists follow the letter of the law, and measures herbs and spices with the exactitude of a Swiss watchmaker. Such methodology renders perfect pastry, but as Katy is the first to laughingly admit, yields sterile stews.

The “kitchen as clinic” approach will not do for stew. Stew is at heart a flexible dish, willing to bend and bow to whimsy as much as tradition; and to achieve greatness, it requires liberal zeal, regardless of political leanings.

To begin, locate a stew recipe that appeals, then use it as a point of orientation, a stovetop roadmap for proportion, flavor, technique, and timing. From there, have fun, exerting free will and jocularity. You want more garlic? Add more garlic. You want wine instead of water? Do it. The text calls for onions, but you favor shallots? Make the change. Imbibe the cooking liquid from time to time. And poke your nose in the pot, too; breathe the heady aroma of your creation and smirk at your skill.

And in case you’re thinking a stew requires all day preparation, think again. Check out my smoked paprika chickpea stew, a 15-minute wonder. I came up with the idea for it based on an abundance of canned chickpeas in my pantry (specifically 12 cans! Ho w did that happen?). It’s fantastic fast food—definitely a case of the sum being greater than the parts.

It’s an especially nice option when you’re away from your own kitchen, as it requires no special equipment (you don’t even need a sharp knife). Happy cooking, everyone!

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Chickpea Stew


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Jenny

Monday 17th of March 2008

This looks so yummy Camilla!

Have a great week! Happy St Patty's Day and Have a great Easter Sunday!

CamillaCooks

Sunday 16th of March 2008

Hey Lauren, welcome!

The powdered milk is added to bars to up the nutrition (especially the calcium and protein). But you could leave it out if you like. You could also use a soy protein powder, too. You definitely do not want to add regular milk to the recipe; the liquid would leave you with a bowl full of mush instead of a crispy bar :).

As for the pumpkin recipes; pumpkin is so nutritious (it's on almost all the "superfood" lists--plus it's cheap and readily available). You won't taste it in the black bean soup at all; it just adds richness and complexity (adn all that nutrition). The smoothie is a different story; it's very pumpkin-y. So if you don't like pumpkin flavor, you might want to skip it.

Hope that helps!

Sincerely,

Camilla

CamillaCooks

Sunday 16th of March 2008

Hi Michelle!

The broths I use most often are the Swanson certified organic broths. They make chicken, vegetable and beef broths. According to the labels (and I checked again online), they are lower sodium than most broths and contain no MSG (also, the beef and chicken broths ar made with hormone-free beef and chicken). I've found the flavor very good for all three. Here's the link to the webpage:

http://www.swansonbroth.com/ourproducts.aspx

Cheers,

Camilla

http://www.swansonbroth.com/ourproducts.aspx

Lauren

Saturday 15th of March 2008

Hi, I just discovered your blog and was going through some of the recipes- all the food looks so good! I can’t wait to try some of the recipes.

Two questions on previous recipes of yours. In your no bake granola bar why do you use powdered milk instead of milk? Actually, I never heard of using milk in granola bars. Would yogurt work in a bar recipe or would that curdle?

Also, in your pumpkin smoothie recipe and black bean soup with pumpkin can you taste the pumpkin or is it something that just volume and thickness? I am not that big of pumpkin flavor person. Thanks!

Michelle

Saturday 15th of March 2008

Do you have a brand of low sodium chicken broth and vegetable broth that you recommend? I have read recently that msg is hidden ingredient in many soup broths and often called natural flavors. The soup broths I have been buying are the "natural" brands (imagine, pacific, kitchen basics), but these still contain msg in hidden form. Thanks!

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