Jameson Whiskey Spicy Vegan Beef Bourguignon with Gluten-Free Pasta & Broccoli

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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OK – I am officially obsessed with Trader Joe’s Beef-Less Strips.  The other day I made the easiest & most awesome Spicy Vegan Mongolian Beef.

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Last night I made this vegan variation of beef bourguignon & it was amazing!  Beef bourguignon is, basically, a French beef stew.  Many recipes call for cognac.  I didn’t have cognac so I used Jameson whiskey.  Many beef bourguignon recipes require a good 3-4 hours of cooking the meat in the oven.  This was made stove top in thirty minutes & I believe that would hold true even if you used real meat.  It was so Goddamn delicious – I ate it all – by myself!  I served it atop gluten-free spaghetti.

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You could use any pasta you like or mashed potatoes or polenta – whatever.  I also steamed some broccoli & added it to the plate.  It was really quite something & I sincerely hope you try it.  It is SO EASY & so yummy – I promise – you will make it again.

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Jameson Whiskey Spicy Vegan Beef Bourguignon with Gluten-Free Pasta & Broccoli

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

8 oz package Trader Joe’s Beef-less Strips (or other brand or similar portion of real beef – cubed or strips)

10 pearl onions (fresh or frozen)

3 carrots – chopped

5-10 mushrooms – cut in half (or quartered, if they are large)

1 TBS cornstarch (or flour)

olive oil

1/4 cup Jameson whiskey

1 cup red wine (use a decent one so you can drink the rest of the bottle with the meal)

1 cup vegetable stock

1 TBS tomato paste

2 bay leaves

4 garlic cloves – chopped

1/2 tsp (or more – to taste) crushed red pepper (optional)

Fresh thyme

S&P to taste

1/2 lb pasta

Broccoli florets (enough to feed two as a side)

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DIRECTIONS

If using fresh pearl onions – put them in boiling water for 3 minutes & then drain under cold water.  Cut the ends off & peel.  Set aside.  If using frozen ones – jump ahead.

Dredge your meat (real or vegan) in the cornstarch.

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Put a thin layer of olive oil in a large saute pan & heat over high.  Add the meat & sear on all sides.  This will likely take longer if you use real meat.  Don’t worry much about under-cooking real meat as it will continue to cook as you add ingredients.

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Deglaze the pan with the Jameson whiskey (simply by adding it & stirring it in – scraping the bottom of the pan) & then add 1 cup red wine, the vegetable stock, tomato paste, bay leaves, garlic and crushed red pepper (if using).  Heat to a boil then reduce to med-low.  Add S&P to taste.  Ad several sprigs of chopped fresh thyme (leaves only – not stems).

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In another pan, add a glug or two of olive oil & over medium heat, saute the pearl onions, mushrooms & carrots.   Saute, stirring frequently, until they begin to sear or brown a bit (5 minutes or so).  Deglaze the pan with either more Jameson whiskey or wine (or water) and then add the lot to the beef stew pan.

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Continue cooking over medium heat until the carrots are tender.  If the stew is too thick, add some water.  If it is too thin – increase heat & cook until you get the desired consistency.  Lower heat & let it simmer while you cook the pasta & steam the broccoli.  I simply added the broccoli florets to the pasta for the final two minutes.  Remove the bay leaves.

Drain the pasta & broccoli & put some on plates.  Top with the beef bouguignon (and maybe extra thyme as garnish?) & serve with wine.  At least one bottle per person.  🙂

Or slop this stuff down with the remaining Jameson, in which case, the one bottle should be enough for two.  😉

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Vegan Pozole with What Cha What Cha What Cha Want!

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I have never had any version of this soup but the one I made today.  I made it early in the day so that I could get it all documented & then, at dinner time, just relax & eat the soup in peace.   Fat chance!  I tasted it for salt & then stood over the pot on the stove in a feeding frenzy like a starving shark that suddenly found itself surrounded by chum.  It is so delicious – just naked out of the pot – without any toppings.  I was amazed!   The soup itself is very basic.  It is an Ancho chili puree with some hominy (for which I still lust) and pinto beans (optional).  Pozole is served kind of like a soup-bowl taco in that the bowl is the taco shell, the pozole is whatever meat (of fish or whatever) and then all that remains is the art of topping it with what cha want – from a selection of the same sorta things you would see on a taco bar.   I added feta because I had it but you could use Cotija or some other hard, salty cheese (or even cheddar) – and you vegans can just cut the cheese.  Cut the cheese!  You vegans – always cutting the cheese.  lol

And – I am officially an 8 year old.

I opened a can of hominy that weighs nearly 7 pounds – so brace yourself for more hominy recipes in the near future.  It only cost $2.29 – so I couldn’t resist!  It was cheaper than the small cans, for Chrissake.

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I quick soaked some dry pinto beans.  Click that link for instructions.   You could do that or soak some beans overnight or use canned beans.  Soaked beans are apparently less good for your heart because soaked beans cannot claim “the more you eat the more you fart.”  The longer they soak – the less chance you have of getting Dutch-ovened by your fucker of a bed-mate later that night.  Don’t say I never did anything for you.

1 pound of dry beans soaked for a few hours produced about 4 cups of beans.  I only used 2 cups in this recipe.  Look at these silly beans.

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I’ve pointed this out before but – just in case you are alarmed – SETTLE.  THESE beans are great for cooking.  It says so – right on the bag.  Crisis averted.  Moving on.

Look how PRETTY they are dry!

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That all kinda fades away during the soaking so don’t get too attached.

I grilled fresh corn for one of my garnishes – but that is totally up to you.

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And – predictably now, I used the produce I had around that needed using.  Another sad & wilted orange bell pepper.  You can use a fresh one – of any color!

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I happen to grow fresh oregano (and sage & mint) because – despite going dormant outdoors over the winter – they all spring back in the spring.  Free fresh herbs!  Try it.  Just plant your mint in its own container because mint is like kudzu & will take over your entire home.  Still – you can buy fresh oregano – if I’ve just now given you notice to grow it far too late.

Anyway – this soup is DELICIOUS.  This recipe makes about 6 servings, I’d guess. especially if you use a lot of toppings.  You could add some cooked meat or fish if you wanted to – or some vegetarian/vegan option, too – but it is so not necessary!

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Vegan Pozole with What Cha What Cha What Cha Want! 

INGREDIENTS

For the Soup

4 dry Ancho Chilies (or guajillo or some combo)

1 small onion

1 bell pepper

1 tomato

6 garlic cloves (or less)

3 TBS fresh oregano

1 cup reserved chili water (from soaking the Ancho chilies)

1 TBS olive oil

6 cups stock (I used vegetable)

2 TBS dry Mexican oregano

4 cups hominy

2 cups cooked pinto beans (optional)

juice of 2 limes

S&P to taste

IDEAS for the toppings – 

Grilled or fresh corn cut from the cob

Chopped tomatoes

Chopped cilantro

Sliced avocado

Sliced radishes

Lime wedges

Chopped cabbage (red or green)

Red onion – diced

Lettuce – chopped

Feta or Cotija (or other) cheese

Corn tortillas (chips)

Sour cream or yogurt or Mexican Crema

And – anything else you want or what cha want on your taco – get loco!

DIRECTIONS

Quick soak the beans – if you are using dry ones.

Boil a pot of water & turn off the heat.  Put a few small cuts in your dry Ancho chilies & submerge them in the boiled water.  Let soak 20 minutes.  Reserve 1 cup of the chili water & then drain the chilies.  Remove the hard stems & seeds.

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Roughly chop the tomato, bell pepper & onion.

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Add the onion, bell pepper, tomato, oregano, garlic, Ancho Chilies & the cup of reserved chili water to the bowl of your food processor (or blender) & blend into a smooth puree.  I did this in stages.  You needn’t.

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In a soup pot, heat the dry oregano in the olive oil for about a minute.  Add the puree.

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Cook this down over med-high heat for about ten minutes or until it gets thick & begins to darken a bit.

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Add the hominy & pinto beans (if using) and the 6 cups of stock.  Bring to a boil & then reduce heat & allow it to simmer while you prepare your toppings – which means – as you chop everything up.

To serve – simply put the toppings you prepared in individual bowls on the table.  Ladle some soup into bowls.  Allow everyone to dress their pozole they way they like and you do What Cha What Cha What Cha Want!

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Easy Vegetarian (Vegan) Irish Stew for a Slow Cooker

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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UPDATE March 28, 2016 – the Hearty Vegan Beef & Vegetable Stew for the Slow Cooker (just above) is – I think – a superior recipe to this one so please consider it.

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Lots of ingredients yet not lots of effort.  This stew – like any stew – is very forgiving & many ingredients could be omitted or substituted with no negative impact on the result.  I read that Guinness beer is not vegan, so note that.  Also, I used some flame-broiled garden burgers for a faux ground beef effect and, in the future, will not as they have a stronger presence in the stew than I expected & their flavor is one that benefits more from the standard accoutrements one typically associates with a traditional hamburger – namely ketchup & mustard & pickles etc – than stew ingredients.  I also used soyrizo for the same reason but might try something else in the future simply due to the amount of a fiery red oil it released to float on the surface of my stew.  Still, despite fearing I might toss the whole effort, after scooping some of the oil off the top & reducing the overwhelming quantity of veggie burger I’d dumped in – I set up a huge bowl to photograph.  Then I tasted it so I could begin trying to salvage it and, to my great surprise, I loved it!  Not perfect, of course but damned edible!!   If you try this dish – feel free to experiment.  I think it can withstand tweaking of all sorts.  For example – I wanted to add Worcestershire sauce but had none.   You might want to lose the Guinness or the faux meats or add different vegetables or use a different grain than pearl barley.  Your call.  Make the recipe your own.

My crock pot is huge!  It makes tons of food so this recipe is for a very large quantity – St. Patrick’s Day party quantity – of stew.  I am certain it will freeze well, so don’t be intimidated.

I made this in a slow cooker but this could easily be made stove top.  I had this in my crock pot for 24 hours – but you could get this done in 2 hours in a large stock pot over medium heat.

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Easy Vegetarian (Vegan) Irish Stew for a Slow Cooker

1 lb mushrooms – sliced

2 TBS olive oil

6 garlic cloves – quartered

1 large onion – diced

8 celery stalks – sliced

1 14.9 can Guinness beer (or vegan alternative)

3 turnips – cubed

6 red potatoes – cubed

1 15.25 oz can corn

8 carrots – sliced

2 cups peas

8 cups stock

5 TBS your favorite BBQ sauce

2 TBS A-1 Steak Sauce

2 veggie patties (optional)

12 oz soyrizo (optional)

10 sprigs fresh thyme – left on stems

1 TBS fresh rosemary – chopped

1 TBS dry sage

3 bay leaves

1 cup heavy cream (or soy-based cream)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 cup pearl barley (or other grain)

1 TBS corn starch dissolved into 1 cup water

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the 2 TBS of olive oil in a frying pan.  Saute the garlic & mushrooms & onions until the mushrooms just begin to brown.  Add the celery & saute a few more minutes.

Then simply combine the rest of the ingredients.  In a slow cooker on high – this should be done in 4-5 hours but can sit on warm overnight.  Add more water if it begins to get too thick.  Generously season with salt & pepper.

Stove top in a large stock pot – bring everything to a boil & then simmer on medium heat & it should be done in two hours.  Generously season with salt & pepper.

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Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew & Ashley’s at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas

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Photo by Miles B. Miller – 2013

All Other Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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My most recent travels put me in Oxford, Mississippi for four days at the amazing Oxford Film Festival

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where my new short (Grasshopper!) was screening along with my pal Richard Speight, Jr’s short (America 101) – which had it’s world premiere.  I was entertained watching him get stopped like a rock star everywhere he went by avid Supernatural fans.

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Nice drinks

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Bizarre hotel lobby taxidermy:

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And good eats in cutie downtown Oxford:

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From there, my boyfriend, Miles, and I headed to Memphis for an anniversary of sorts that we called our “Memphersary.”

Two days there eating great food at Flight

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and we tried grilled oysters at Bleu:

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We got caught in the rain on Beale Street:

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Some vegetarian soul food sides at Rum Boogie Cafe (and a super intimidating-looking Miles):

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We spent lots of time at the duck-obsessed Peabody & enjoyed looking at the Memphis Pusiness Journal sign from the roof.

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And Miles ate lots of meat at The King’s Palace on Beale:

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Then we took the Greyhound to Little Rock:

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Classy & handy syringe disposal:

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And the hottest spot in Forrest City – the Greyhound terminal.ImageImageImage

Too much to tell about Little Rock except that by the time I got there, I was craving something not fried & I was dying to cook something.  These two desires were satisfied separately.   Miles bought me a decadent lunch at Ashley’s in the Capital Hotel.

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We shared an amazing shrimp & grits which was so good, I pretended not to see the ham floating in there & just avoided it:

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I had a squash risotto:

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And look at this ridiculous steak & potato tower Miles got!!!

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The crazy thing was that these entrees cost an average of about $17 each but the cheapest wine was $14 a glass.  Yikes!

In return, I went to the only grocery store near his condo and bought the ingredients to make him a beef stew.

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The grocery is an upscale, little mini-market attached to Dugan’s, the Irish pub on the ground floor of Miles’ condo building.  We spend a LOT of time at Dugan’s.  Anyway, when I say I bought the ingredients – I mean I had to buy everything.  Here is the inside of Miles’ fridge & freezer:

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NOTHING.  Nothing except beer, wine, club soda, tonic water & some film.

Here is the little market (shots taken by Miles):

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Dugan’s little store is really a miraculous wonderland.  Everything I could think of – they seemed to have.  Not a selection of everything but a little bit of everything from laundry soap to fresh, raw salmon to fancy cheeses to cereals & canned goods.  They make sandwiches & soups & have wicked looking pastries, inexpensive wines & honestly, just about everything else I could think of – albeit in small quantities.

By comparison, Miles is FAR less stocked – as he owns ONE pan with a lid & a slow cooker that gave him that he has never used.

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Oh – and he has salt & pepper & a bag of Asian condiments (soy seen below) from a restaurant from which he gets delivery.  And he has ONLY one knife – a steak knife.

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I spent $45 in the store on a rib-eye, some potatoes & carrots & garlic & rice & a few condiment items, a can of tomatoes, a large container of rice and some olive oil.

Here is the kitchen:

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Here is the view from the kitchen:

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Here are the ingredients:

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And here is what I did:

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Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew

INGREDIENTS

Meat (a chuck larger than my hand & fingers) – cubed

4 garlic cloves – diced

2 TBS olive oil

1 red onion – diced

1 carrot – cubed

1 potato – cubed

1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes

1/2 cup red wine

1 TBS A-1 Steak Sauce

Crystal Hot Sauce (to taste)

1/3 cup Curly Bob’s Sauce (HERE is a little article on Curly Bob)

Soy sauce and/or salt & pepper to taste

(You could add peas or any other veggies you care to, as well, or maybe some barley.)

DIRECTIONS

Heat the olive oil & saute the garlic & onion until translucent.  Add the cubed meat & cook nearly through.  Add red wine & cook over high heat a minute or two.

Place all the ingredients in a slow cooker & cook on high for 4 hours or on low for eight.  I stirred mine around occasionally and added a packet of soy sauce – mostly because it was the only other ingredient handy with which to get crazy.  Not a single spice (other than S&P) was added to this dish.

Unfortunately – I divvied this all up & froze it for Miles to have in my absence & completely forgot to photograph the results.  I was also unable to taste it.  What I can say is – it friggin’ SMELLED awesome while it cooked!

A few nights ago, Miles defrosted it all & shared it to his friend & his brother.  He declared it a success & sent me the two photos I have posted here.  He is a fussy eater so if he says it was good – I’m gonna believe him!

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In closing – here is Miles & his brother Josh & their uncle, Watson.  Little Rock is very photogenic!

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Bloody Brain Shooters are not!

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

North Indian Chana Masala or Sour & Spicy Chick Pea Stew with Basmati Rice

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

While this blog is not devoted to economic meals nor low calorie (or specifically healthy) ones – the fact is, most of us appreciate a low cost & delicious dinner that satisfies without moving us that much closer to an unsightly bedonkadonk.  A few months ago, a Facebook follower responded to one of my incessant food posts with the remark, “I wish I could afford to eat like you do every day.”  Little did she know – I was in the middle of a self-imposed challenge to go as long as possible without buying any food and force myself to live on all the collected crap in my freezer & pantry.  This wasn’t the first challenge of this sort I had exercised.  The first time I tried it – I went a month and spent only $5.  Of course, by the end of the first week – all fresh produce was gone from my diet and within a week from that – so was all frozen & canned varieties.  I mostly lived on rices & pastas.  It was an all-carb-all-the-time diet that began to alarm my friends.  The day the Facebooker made her remark – concerned friends had anonymously delivered about $500 worth of fresh EVERYTHING to my door.   In fact – both times I did the “pantry cleanse” diet – concerned & WAY TOO generous friends delivered a farmer’s market’s wealth of produce to my door – so I can’t do this diet anymore.  Or – at least – if I do, I need to keep it on the QT.  I felt like I was fleecing my friends for lettuce & broccoli.  So – anyway – my point is, pizza, pasta & rice dishes happen to be what I like – but they are also very cost effective.  Pasta & pizza needn’t be the pound-packers they are reputed to be, either.  If the crust is very thin & you are reasonable with the cheese (and skip meat altogether) – they are really just open faced sandwiches – but SO much more emotionally satisfying.  And – homemade pasta is WAY lighter than the dried variety.  No post-Thanksgiving dinner style bloated gut EVER from homemade pasta.  So – it is just a matter of getting creative & artful with how you present these dishes.  Mix it up.  Got a funny mish mash of ingredients – and no idea what to do with them?  Google them followed by the word recipe.  I then like to click IMAGES & find the prettiest result from the ingredients I listed.  You would be amazed how effective this can be as a source for an exciting new dish without a run to the grocery store.

OK – I’m rambling.  Today’s post is the result of my having one large can of chick peas & a bunch of onions, some leftover tomatoes & leftover jalapenos.

When it comes to Indian food, I prefer the heavily gravied dishes over the drier ones.  This dish is almost all gravy (ymmm) and it is a gravy made up almost entirely of pureed onions.  Sounds funky.  It is not!  It is delicious!  Delicious – of course – if you like the juxtaposition of spicy & sour.  But this dish makes a large quantity (easily enough for 4 – with rice) and the only calories in it really are from the chick peas (which are VERY good for you & CHEAP) and the tiny bit of olive oil.  Cheap, LOW fat, low calorie & yummy as fuck.  And easy to make.  Why not give it a go?

The one drawback with Indian is the initial investment in spices.  All of my versions of Indian dishes will call for 2-3 times as much of each spice as most other versions you will see.  I like the dishes heavily seasoned.  My suggestion for the spices is that you find a local exotic spice store – and not a fancy Williams-Sonoma type one but a local family-owned one – and go in there with a list.  The fact is – these stores tend to sell every day spices at deep discounts, too.  My supermarket charges like $8 for that traditional size container of an average spice – like say – cumin.  My Indian spice store sells a giant container – ten times as much – for like $5.  Amazon.com is also a good source – believe it or not.  So – if you are in an area that lacks ethnic opportunities – don’t forget the interweb!  Everything you want can be found there.

The basic spices that most Indian dishes will call for are:

Garam Masala – which you can make (garam masala recipe) or buy prepared

Cumin – both seeds & ground

Coriander – both seeds & ground

Turmeric

Green Cardamom pods

Fenugreek

Fennel seeds

Bay leaves

Tamarind paste

Mango Powder (Amchoor)

Asafoetida (read this Wiki thing Asafoetida) – which STINKS (good Lord!) in the container but cooks up nicely.  Trust.  Despite its alternative name “devil’s dung.”

Mustard seeds of all colors

Cinnamon

Curry powder

and – as an aside –  fresh ginger, garlic & onions are used in nearly everything — unless you are unfortunate enough to have stumbled upon a Hare Krishna Indian recipe.  They think garlic leads to lewdness.  But I’ve covered this in the past.  Just know – if you are making an Indian dish & do not see onions or garlic in the ingredients – you might want to look for a version of the recipe that has them.

SPECIAL NOTE – I have yet to succeed in creating a mint or cilantro chutney OR a decent yogurt raita myself.  My spice store is attached to a restaurant that sells these items in any quantity you wish.   It is easier & cheaper to do it this way for me – so that is what is pictured here.  I will persevere, though, and try to work out a homemade version – eventually.

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This dish is very easy to prepare.  Don’t be thrown by the amount of onion.  A food processor is kinda critical with this one, though, in order to get the onions pureed gravy-style.

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North Indian Chana Masala or Sour & Spicy Chick Pea Stew

INGREDIENTS

1 29 oz can chick peas (garbanzo beans)

1 cup diced tomatoes

2 large red onions – chopped roughly (some reserved & chopped for garnish)

fresh cilantro (fresh coriander) – chopped for garnish

2 inch piece of fresh ginger – peeled & chopped

8 garlic cloves

3 jalapenos (some reserved & sliced thin for garnish)

2 TBS olive oil

1 TBS turmeric

1/4 tsp cinnamon

10 green cardamom pods – gently crushed under the flat side of a knife (to release their flavor)

3 bay leaves

6 TBS yogurt (or prepared raita – if you have it)

3 TBS garam masala

pinch of asefoetida (not critical – so don’t sweat it if you don’t have it)

2 TBS ground cumin

2 TBS ground coriander

1 tsp sugar (raw – preferably)

1 TBS tamarind paste

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns

salt to taste

1 1/2 cup water

DIRECTIONS

Puree: the red onion, ginger, garlic, jalapenos & 1/2 cup water – into a paste in the food processor.

Heat: the oil in a large, heavy saute pan over medium heat.  Saute the cinnamon, bay leaves & cardamom pods for a minute then add the onion puree & tomatoes.  Saute until the liquid begins to evaporate & the onions start changing color  to – a nice pale brown.

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Stir in the tamarind paste.  One blended add: salt, sugar, garam masala, coriander, cumin, turmeric & lemon juice.  Stir this until blended then add the yogurt & stir in in until blended.  The puree should now how a rich chocolate color.

Add the chick peas & the liquid from the can along with another cup of water.  Simmer this on low for an hour or more.  Be sure it doesn’t dry out.  Add water if the rich gravy starts looking sparse.  It should be a pretty wet stew – the gravy being the primary element here – rather than the chick peas.

Serve on individual plates over basmati rice & garnish with cilantro, red onion & sliced jalapeno.

Serve with mint chutney & a yogurt raita on the side – if you can.  No worries if you cannot.

BASMATI RICE

INGREDIENTS

3 cups basmati rice – rinsed several times in a colander

1 TBS olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp salt

20 green cardamom pods (if you can get them)

DIRECTIONS

Heat the olive oil in a pan.  Once hot – add the cumin seeds & the cardamom pods – again being wary of their popping & spitting.  I used 20 cardamom pods because mine were a bit old.  You might want to use fewer if yours are fresh & really pungent.  After a minute – add the rice & stir until it is all covered in oil & the spices are well blended.  Add 3 3/4 cups of water (or whatever ratio of rice to water your package suggests) & bring to a boil.  Use less water for firmer rice.  Once boiling – reduce heat to low & simmer, covered, for however long the rice package instructs you.  Remove from heat.  Fluff with a fork.

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