Saturday, 28 April 2012

Chickpea Beef Stew with Orange

 We don't eat a lot of meat at our house.  Partly for health reasons and partly because Don and the kids don't really like it very much.  Recently I read a new blog where the author is aiming to complete 30 things before her 30th birthday.  It's an inspiring list and there were quite a few that had me excited to create my own list.  One of these items is to go vegetarian for a month.  My immediate response was "I could do that."

When spring and summer produce come into season, it's so easy to just eat from the earth.  This spring has been another story.  That short stint of warm weather had me craving fresh salads and raw food but Ontario is not producing a lot of fresh vegetables for us just yet.  Back to reality with these cool nights and frosty mornings and cravings for comforting meals.  A lot of times that means a hearty meat based recipe.
This beef stew is a little different than a traditional stew.  It adds chickpeas and some fresh orange juice to liven up the flavours.  I've been making this one for a lot of years with a lot of success. It can easily be doubled to serve a larger group.
It's an easy one to throw together in the evening or early morning in your slow cooker and then turn on in the morning.  Coming home from a work day to this hot stew is a true pleasure.  Josilin baked us some homemade bread to go with it and it was a perfect match.  Don loves to drizzle molasses on his stew and swears this tastes like his childhood.  Although I doubt his mom was putting many chickpeas in her Cape Breton Beef Stew.  I suppose for many of us, that is what comfort really is: tastes of home. Guess we'll start that vegetarian month next week.

Chickpea Beef Stew with Orange

Adapted from Jamie Oliver's "Jamie's Dinners"
1 lb stewing beef
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 orange: zested and juiced
1 onion
2 carrots
2 sticks celery
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
2 potatoes
1 sweet potato
1 can chickpeas
1 can plum tomatoes
molasses (optional)
Heat a cast iron skillet to high and add the beef sprinkled with salt and pepper.  Brown on all sides and then add cumin and paprika.  Add the zest and juice of one orange and stir around, scraping up and brown bits from the pan.  Place in a slow cooker and add chopped onion, carrot, celery, potatoes, sweet potato and fresh rosemary.  Add in cans of chickpeas drained and tomatoes broken up.  Cook on low in slow cooker for 8-10hrs.  Top with molasses or serve with bread.

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