One thing that the world could eat more of is pulses. From a nutritionist point of view they are full of fibre and protein, provide a good dose of micronutrients too but I think they have a bad image. That they are only eaten because they are ‘healthy’ or ‘cheap’ (both are true) or because the person eating them has chosen not to eat meat. That somehow casts a shadow over them, that they are a choice made from necessity rather than taste. Or that they are too worthy to be tasty. They may be ‘worthy’ and one of those things we all should eat a bit more of but they can also be delicious.
This is one of my favourite chick pea recipes. I made it the other day to take it to a bring and share lunch and a friend asked for the recipe. I can’t take the credit as it is another inspiration from Simon Rimmer (from his book The Seasoned Vegetarian – and it is seasoned well, with splatters of oil and the like, the scars of a well used cook book!!)
2-3 tablespoons oil (canola or light olive oil)
2 sticks of celery
1 pepper (whichever colour you prefer)
½ aubergine (or not, sometimes I have added a few chopped mushrooms)
2 cloves of garlic
1tsp (or to taste) smoked paprika
generous squirt of tomato puree
2 x 400g cans of chick peas
3 generous tablespoons of creme fraiche (you can use 15% or 30% fat – both work equally as well)
Fresh or frozen herbs – lemon balm works well but parsley or coriander are also great.
Chop all your vegetables into similar size chunks, heat some oil in a heavy based pan. You will need a bit more oil if you are using aubergine as it soaks up the oil a bit. Saute all your chopped vegetables until the onion is cooked but not coloured and the aubergine is soft releasing its moisture.
Add the garlic and continue cooking for a moment. Add the smoked paprika and the tomato puree, stir these through until everything is coated.
Drain and rinse the chick peas then add them to the pot along with the creme fraiche and heat through. Add your fresh or frozen herbs and it is ready to serve. So quick! You can of course play with the veg according to what is in your fridge so it really can be quite a store cupboard, instant meal.
It is lovely served on top of crispy cumin and garlic roasted potatoes – that is how Simon serves it in his book and it makes for quite a comfort food meal. But it works with tortillas or other breads, or with rice (you may want to make the chick peas a little more saucy by adding a bit of water when adding the tomato puree).
It is great the next day so leftovers are great for lunch. I have eaten it cold with salads, warmed up in a wrap like a burrito, even had it on toast as an alternative to baked beans. And hardened meat eaters have seconds so it can’t be that bad!!