Thursday, October 29, 2009

Recipe: Chickpea Stew with Mint and Feta (Ρεβύθια με Φέτα και Δυόσμος)

I’m just back from Seattle, where my sister lives and my mom has resettled. After her crazy awful 2009 (husband of 65 years died, sold her home of 50 years, moved to a small apartment in a new city), my mom is positively engaged in her new life. Her motto: “Choose Happiness.” My mom, always quirky but never boring, is an inspiration.

Regular readers know nothing makes me happier than cooking with my sister. A couple days into the visit, we dished up a delicious dinner of salmon and lentils with red wine sauce. The food was beautiful; my sister suggested I take a picture and blog the meal (another day, I promise). I was too hungry for photography.

Over dinner, my sister claimed it was traditional for me to blog about one meal cooked in her kitchen each visit. Who knew? It’s funny how traditions sneak into your life without warning. And ignoring tradition, even one newly adopted, is bad juju. So that night, I found myself lying in bed dreaming up recipes.

At the store, we’d just bought chickpeas and gorgeous lamb steaks. My sister was out of coriander, so we'd bought some of that too. I decided to pair the chickpeas and coriander in a stew with plenty of fresh mint. The next day we went to Big John’s PFI, a Seattle store with a great cheese selection, and bought Greek sheep feta (and, of course, much more), the perfect finishing ingredient for chickpea stew.

Sadly, the Seattle stew pictures didn’t turn out (bad lighting, no tripod), so I “forced” myself to remake the stew when I returned to Alaska. Since I’d been craving leftover chickpeas during the foodless flight home, I was quite happy to make them again, especially because the stew goes together so quickly. It was as tasty the second time as it was in Seattle. This time, I ate the leftovers, and the flavor, already great, was even better the next day.

With generous quantities of mint, my chickpea stew goes particularly well with lamb. It also makes a deliciously filling meal on its own. The recipe has definitely been added to my permanent rotating repertoire.

Chickpea Stew with Mint and Feta (Ρεβύθια με Φέτα και Δυόσμος)
Serves 4

Serve as a side dish with grilled lamb or chicken, or as a main course with steamed rice or couscous. A crisp green salad nicely completes the meal.

3 cups diced yellow onions, 1/4” dice
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup diced carrots, 1/4” dice
1 cup diced celery, 1/4” dice
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 14.5-oz. cans diced tomatoes
3 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 15-oz. cans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup minced fresh mint
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta

Sauté the onions, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, in olive oil until they soften and start to turn golden. Stir in the carrots and celery and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ground coriander, and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Cover, turn down the heat, and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and the flavors meld. Stir in the parsley and mint and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the feta and serve immediately.
This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging hosted this week Katie from Eat This.


Núria said...

Mmm, such a hearty dish! I love chickpeas in all ways and your mint suggestion seduces me a lot... :D

Bravo to your mama!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I was just in Seattle last weekend and spent Sauturday at Pike Place Market. This chickpeaq stew sounds very inviting and wonder you made it twice.

Maria Verivaki said...

good to hear mommy is well

my daughter breaks feta cheese into all her 'ospria' to make them go down better (she hates pulses and beans, but never regrest having a bowl, if you get what i mean)

i envy your time spent with your sister - if i cooked in my sister's home, she'd just leave me with the ingrdients and go off shopping...

Mediterranean Food from MALTA said...

This looks delicious!

I remember I once did a chickpea dish with chicken and salami. I think it was a Spanish specialty.

It's incredible how tasty chickpeas are with meat dishes!

I think it will also be yummy with rice and couscous like you said.

Nice blow btw



Cheryl said...

I love the story-endearing. I'm also glad to learn that your mother is finding a way to cope with her new life.
I love all of the ingredients here, it sounds delicious. And- I thought that all I could use mint for these days is a mojito. :)

Kalyn Denny said...

I'm inspired by your mom's motto, and I love the sound of this dish too.

The Chickenless Chick said...

Am trying to cut back on meat lately, and this makes my mouth water... meatless, yet substantial. Yum!

Just gave you a Kreativ Blogger Award btw:


Joanne said...

Your mom sounds like a smart AND strong woman! "Choose Happiness" is the best advice! It's too bad that some Greek widows don't think this way. Onto food now...Feta with chickpeas...delicious! This chickpea stew sounds perfect!!! I've been craving chickpeas lately and this might be just the meal for me :)

Mimi said...

Yum! What a great chickpea stew, I'll have to try it out!