“The Stew”

Have you heard of “The Stew” yet? If you are at all like me and your social media consumption is 95% food porn, then you probably have seen this viral phenomenon. Seriously, for a few months this winter, it was like everyone, everywhere, all at once, was obsessed with this single bowl of goodness. I kind of get it, Alison Roman is NYT famous, the stew is fairly easy, it’s beautiful, it’s satisfying….but at the same time, I also just didn’t get it.

So, I did what you have to do when the entire internet seems to want to make the same thing for dinner. I made it too. And my verdict? It was good.

Alison’s original recipe is here, but if you like my laissez-faire recipe approach better, feel free to keep reading.

Ingredients: (serves 4 to 6)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus some extra for beautifying at the end)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 piece of ginger (2″ ish), finely chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 2 15-oz cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 15-oz cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups stock (veggie or chicken)
  • 1 bunch kale (or swiss chard), chopped
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • Yogurt (plain)

Preparation:

First heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add chopped garlic, chopped onion, and finely chopped ginger to the oil. Add a few pinches of salt and pepper and cook until the onion is translucent and starts to get some nice golden/brown color here and there (3-5 minutes or so!).

Add the turmeric, red-pepper flakes, and rinsed chickpeas. Add another few pinches of salt and pepper [note: seasoning a little bit along the way is way better than just adding all your salt and pepper at once at the beginning or at the end….]. Cook all the spices, chickpeas, and onion/garlic/ginger mixture for about 10 minutes, until the chickpeas start to fry a bit, get a little crispy, and begin to fall apart. Remove 1 cup of the chickpea mixture and set aside for garnish.

OK – side derailment if you’re cross-referencing my recipe with the OG recipe: I followed Alison’s recipe exactly, and I will say, my chickpeas did not get as crispy as I would have liked. I ended up separately putting my cup of reserved chickpeas into a different pan and quickly letting them crisp up a tad more on their own. I recommend doing this if you want a bit more color and textural nuance to your dish (which you do). Below is a picture of just my garnish chickpeas getting a little more attention.

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Next, using whatever kitchen utensil makes sense to you, crush the remaining chickpeas you still have in your soup pot and let them break down even further. You don’t want to mash ALL of them, you just want to gently mash most of them so you still have some texture but your stew will thicken a bit.

Add the coconut milk and stock (along with another pinch or two of salt and pepper!), and use a spatula to scrap up any yummy brown bits left from frying the chickpea mixture from the bottom of the pan. Those brown bits are the most flavorful part of your dish so far.

Bring to a simmer, and let cook for 30-35 minutes (uncovered). You can keep simmering the stew if it’s not thick enough at that point, but I think you’ll be ok right around there.

Add your torn/chopped kale (or other hearty green), and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Taste the stew and add any more salt or pepper if needed.

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Ladle into bowls, and then garnish like you work for a food magazine. I used torn mint, a scoop of the reserved crispy chickpeas, an extra sprinkle of red-pepper flakes, some plain yogurt, and a drizzle of olive oil. You could also fry some garlic or shallot, or add a sprinkle of turmeric.

Serve alongside some pita or bread if you want….and enjoy the fad of the winter of 2018!

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