I’ve served this delicious stew to nonvegetarians who have scraped the bowl. Topped with the luscious coulis, it is quite divine. Add whole grain rolls and a green salad or steamed asparagus, in season.
Yield: Makes 6 servings
1 tbsp (15 mL) cumin seeds
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced, or 1 bulb fennel, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced on the vertical
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) turmeric
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
½ tsp (2 mL) cracked black peppercorns
8 oz (250 g) cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes, including juice (see Notes)
1 can (14 oz/398 mL) chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or 1 cup (250 mL) dried chickpeas, soaked, cooked and drained
red pepper coulis:
2 roasted red bell peppers (see Notes)
3 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 tbsp (25 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) balsamic vinegar
10 fresh basil leaves, optional
Works in slow cookers from 3½ to 6 quarts.
1. In a large dry skillet over medium heat, toast cumin seeds, stirring, until fragrant and they just begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Immediately transfer to a mortar or a spice grinder and grind. Set aside.
2. In same skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, turmeric, salt, peppercorns and reserved cumin and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and toss until coated. Add tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
3. Add chickpeas and stir well. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours, until hot and bubbly.
4. Roasted Red Pepper Coulis: In a food processor, combine roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, oil, vinegar, and basil, if using. Process until smooth. Ladle stew into bowls and top with coulis.
Large cans of tomatoes come in 28 oz (796 mL) and 35 oz (980 mL) sizes. For convenience, I’ve called for the 28 oz (796 mL) size in my recipes. If you’re using the 35 oz (980 mL) size, drain off 1 cup (250 mL) liquid before adding to the recipe.
For convenience, use bottled roasted red peppers, or, if you prefer, roast your own.
Most of the sodium in a serving of this recipe comes from the canned tomatoes (200 mg), the canned chickpeas (135 mg) and, of course, the salt (100 mg). There are several ways you can reduce the amount of sodium from these ingredients in any recipe: use tomatoes and/or chickpeas canned without salt; use fresh tomatoes in season; prepare homemade stock from scratch without salt; and cut back on added salt.
This dish can be partially prepared before it is cooked. Complete Steps 1 and 2. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to cook, continue with Steps 3 and 4.