Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ethiopian Stew

I have been trying to use up items I have in the freezer, refrigerator, or pantry for meals.  I haven't made a soup or stew in a couple of weeks, so I went searching for recipes. I wanted something that would make good use of the spices I have acquired.  I chose Ethiopian Stew from Vegan Dad's blog.
The recipe list included both yellow split peas and red lentils.  I had yellow split peas from another recipe I made, and luckily, I picked up some red lentils in the bulk section of Whole Foods yesterday.  I boiled the split peas for about 40 minutes while I prepared the veggies.
I diced carrots and potatoes and then sliced onions and minced some fresh ginger.  I decided to add one homemade Vegan Filet Mignon (from the freezer) and 1 cup of chickpeas (also homemade from the freezer).  I love having the seitan in the freezer ready to use and add to my dishes.  It saves me a lot of time and a lot of sodium and preservatives that store-bought seitan contains.
I warmed the spices in the olive oil. I only used 2½ tablespoons of olive oil instead of 4 and I could have cut that down to 1 tablespoon.  I added the onion and ginger, and while that was sauteing, I minced some garlic and added it to the pot.
After the onions had softened, I added the diced carrots, potatoes, and Vegan Filet Mignon and let that cook for a couple of minutes.
The recipe calls for a spice mix named Berbere from Vegan Dad's blog.  I didn't feel like trying to cut that down to add it to the dish.  So, instead of using that, I just grabbed a few spices.  I added ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika, ¼ teaspoon of red cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and ½ teaspoon of dried jalapeno pepper.  (I must have wanted a little heat!)
I threw in some frozen beans.  I had a yellow bean/green bean/carrot mix, so I tried not to grab the carrots, but I did get a few in there.  I almost left out the beans as I'm not crazy about green beans in stews and there's already split peas, lentils, and chick peas in it.  But, I though, might as well since they are in the ingredient list.  I did not add the tomato paste.  The stew was thick enough with the lentils and split peas.
Overall, this is not a spicy stew, even with all of the "heat" that I added.  It really didn't make a big heat difference, probably because this makes a full pot of stew.  I liked the beans in it more than I thought I would.  And, if I had left out the seitan, I wouldn't have missed it because this dish has so many different and complex flavors.  This is like "health" in a bowl, in my humble opinion.  I enjoyed it.  It's a nice, hearty, fall or winter dish.  Since we woke up to icy rain this morning in Chicago, it's a perfect fit!

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