Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Eat Your Orange Veggies

Carrots and garnet yams might sound like overkill, but they came together nicely in this dinner.

When I soaked the chickpeas last night before bed, I knew I wasn't going to feel like cooking today. Through the day, I sliced carrots, then rested. Chopped an onion, rested. And so on until dinnertime when I was able to toss everything together. The one thing I did differently that's worth noting was removing the skins from the chickpeas. I always do this, but usually, before cooking. Today, I removed them shortly after cooking and then let the chickpeas sit in the fridge all day in the reserved cooking water. This had the effect of softening the chickpeas, without turning them to mush. It made for a nice stew-like consistency to the main course. I would certainly use this technique again.

I made quite a bit-you can easily cut the amount of beans and carrots called for since I pretty much approximate as I go anyway. I served this with some stale apricot challah that I grilled on the stove in some clarified butter, and cous cous filled with chopped, dried apricots and raisins. Pita was my original plan but I I just couldn't manage it. Maybe for the leftovers tomorrow (and the day after...I told you, I made a lot of it).

For the Yams:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Slice yams into spears, toss with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Bake 15 minutes, then turn and contine roasting until nicely browned and softened.

For the Chickpeas:

Night Before: Soak 3-4 cups of dried chickpeas.

In the Morning: In a heavy pot, place chickpeas with enough water to cover well. Add three bay leaves and nothing else. Seriously, this is how I cook chickpeas. Bring it to a boil, skim any scum that accumulates and reduce heat to a steady simmer. Cover with lid vented to permit steam to escape. Cook about 1 hour or until soft. Drain, reserving liquid. I removed the skins at this point (tedious) but you can obviously do it later, or skip it altogether. Place beans in one or two large, shallow pans and cool rapidly. Then, chill. When cooking liquid has cooled, use it to cover beans and keep chilled until ready to use.

For the rest of the chickpea dish:

Olive oil-about 1/4 cup
6 large carrots, sliced thinly on the diagonal
1 large onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon preserved lemon peel-pith and pulp removed and finely chopped
4 large dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
Cooked chickpeas, skins removed (use as much as you like)
A handful of coarsely torn baby rocket (arugula)


1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried mint
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
Black pepper-a few good grindings
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a heavy pan (I used an enameled Dutch oven). Add the carrots, onion, garlic, and lemon peel. Cook until carrots soften. Do not let the onions brown, or the garlic burn. Add the chickpeas and spices and cook until well blended-about ten minutes over medium low heat. In the last few minutes, toss in the rocket to just wilt.

Serve with cous cous, thick yoghurt, and bread.

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