It’s my first everyday eats post of the new year! And it feels good. I like to flex my cooking muscles sometimes, but my favourite meals, the ones that satisfy me to the core, are either the tasty ones that come together real fast (heeeey Burrito Bowls) or the ones that use up all the little languishing bits in the refrigerator with unexpectedly amazing results. Minus the fresh herb sprinkle at the end, this quick recipe is all fairly common pantry stock. Although the ragged bits of parsley that I used actually came from my struggling, but still going, planter outside, so it was all “pantry” for me ;)
One of my keys to fast/tasty meal success though: my man and I eat some kind of tomato-based concoction over starch at least once a week. Whether that’s basic tomato sauce and brown rice spaghetti, or Moroccan Stew with quinoa, or even just a quickie tomato soup with fresh bread. It’s basically in our blood at this point, but I’ve never canned a tomato in my life.
I pick my battles when it comes to making things totally from scratch. I’m a busy-ish person who appreciates efficiency. I love making fresh nut milk or creamer, growing vegetables from seed, or practicing my skills with homemade bread, but canning is something that kinda puts me on edge. Something about the steamy heat and the sanitizing and the jars everywhere. The quality of preserved produce you can find in nicer grocery stores is pretty spectacular nowadays too.
I’ve been using Muir Glen Organic tomatoes for years, and if you’ve been following along here, you know that my devotion to the fire-roasted ones is do or die. We’re lucky to live so close to an American border crossing (and the best grocery store eveeer–Wegman’s!) because I stock those tomatoes up by the case in my basement. When Muir Glen invited me to come check out their farm, compost, and canning facility (and the outdoor fire roaster!!) in California last Fall, my excitement was off the charts.
It was about 107 degrees and dusty from the draught when we were there, but the processing from farm to can/jar kind of blew me away. We picked and ate the actual tomatoes that they use right there in the field with fresh basil, salt, olive oil, and baguette. While we were snacking, truckloads of tomatoes were driving by to their canning facility. We learned that the process time from field to can is 8 hours or less, and I kinda had a hunch that this was true before they even told us because the taste is so genuinely and richly tomato-y. It was a fun trip that re-affirmed my devotion to the brand. Plus I got to hang out with some of my faves ;)
I used their new line of jarred tomatoes for this recipe. I love the flavor in these and also the fact that I can use a cup or so, screw the lid on, and slide the jar back in the refrigerator. No transferring from can to bowl for leftovers and no BPA lining concerns either. The quality of the tomatoes and the freshness of your spices will make this recipe. Once your ingredients are lined up, this hearty and cozy bowl comes together in 20 minutes. The stew is lightly creamy and fragrant with coconut, and the spices make it interesting (but all of them are quite common). We ate this with some millet polenta and it was just the thing for a cold winter night. I think there might be a few more of those coming up.. ;)
SEVEN SPICE CHICKPEA STEW WITH TOMATO + COCONUT RECIPE
Print the recipe here!
Serves: 3-4, with sides
Notes: This stew has very few ingredients, so it’s ideal to use good quality preserved tomatoes and fresh spices. I made this during the day for the purpose of photographing/sharing it here, but when I reheated it for dinner, I added about 1 cup of chopped Swiss chard for an extra hit of greens.
2 teaspoons olive or coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, small dice (about 1 cup of diced onion)
spice blend (below)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups cooked (and drained) chickpeas
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup jarred/canned diced tomatoes
1 cup light coconut milk
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
⅓ cup chopped flat leaf parsley or cilantro (or a combination)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried chilies
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a deep cast iron skillet or a small soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is lightly shimmering, add the onions to the pan. Cook and stir the onions until translucent and quite soft, about 5-6 minutes. You want the onions to be quietly sizzling while they cook, so lower the heat if necessary.
Add the spice blend to the skillet and stir. Once the spices are quite fragrant and fully integrated with the onions, add the tomato paste, mashing it with the back of your spoon into the spices and oil. Add the garlic and chickpeas and stir the mixture for 30 seconds.
Add the balsamic vinegar and tomatoes to the pan and stir, using the back of your spoon to scrape up any brown bits that may have formed on the bottom of the pan. Add the coconut milk to the skillet and season the stew with salt and pepper.
Bring the stew to a boil, and then lower the heat to a light simmer. Cook the stew for about 10-15 minutes, or until the flavours have melded to your liking. Garnish the top of the stew with the chopped parsley/cilantro. Serve stew hot with polenta, brown rice or any other accompaniment you like.
*This post was created in partnership with Muir Glen Organic. All opinions/endorsements are my own. Thanks for supporting!
**Wares in this post: cast iron pan by FINEX, wooden ladle by EARLYWOOD, wood topped storage jars from FOOD52