white bean, chickpea & spelt stew

As much as I love beans and other legumes, I regularly struggle with figuring out what to do with them. Often, what ends up happening is that I’ll soak some in the morning (or even the afternoon — there is a trick) for that day’s dinner and then, much like a procrastinating student who’s left their essay writing right down to the very last minute, try to come up with a meal idea only once the time to cook the beans has come. This dish was no exception.

a comforting close-up of simone's white bean, chickpea and spelt stew shows off the contrast between the tomato-red dish and its earthy-green herb topping
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This white bean, chickpea & spelt stew can easily be adapted to suit your mood, needs, and desires. Feel free to swap out and omit ingredients as you go — although you should probably read through the whole post first!

 

a no-recipe recipe for a golden chickpea stew

1. Soak about a handful of dried white beans and chickpeas overnight (or for at least one hour if covering with boiling water).

2. In a large pot on medium-low heat, cook half an onion, diced, in a bit of butter and olive oil until translucent. Then add one or two cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped, as well as salt, pepper, dried or fresh thyme and a bay leaf. Stir for 30 seconds or so before adding the drained and soaked legumes along with an equivalent volume of dried whole spelt. Turn the heat up slightly and keep stirring, adding a bit of butter or olive oil if the pan gets dry, to toast the grains and legumes.

3. After 2-3 minutes, cover generously with vegetable broth (water + a bouillon cube or powdered stock works just fine). Bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and turn down the heat to let simmer for 45 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 180°C fan/200°C/400°F.

5. In an oven dish, put in: the other half of your onion (diced), half a large carrot (diced), cherry tomatoes (halved), some kale (chopped, without the stem), and a garlic clove (peeled). Coat lightly with olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Roast until everything looks and smells fantastic, then turn off heat and leave in the oven while the beans and grains are still cooking.

6. Once the contents of pot has simmered for 45 minutes, take off the lid and add to it the oven-roasted vegetables and their juices, a couple of teaspoons’ worth of tomato paste, a big splash of white wine and a generous sprinkle of chili flakes. Crush the beans a bit with a wooden spoon to help the stew thicken a bit, then let all the flavours meld together by simmering for a further 15 minutes, lid off, on medium-high heat and stirring occasionally.

7. Lastly, in a small bowl or glass, combine a few tablespoons’ worth of fresh chopped parsley and basil with a few teaspoons’ worth of lemon zest, a glug of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and chili flakes.

8. To serve, ladle out the stew into bowls, add on some of the herby lemon mixture, and drizzle with an additional splash of olive oil, salt, pepper, and chili flakes.

 

The meal above was inspired by this recipe by Colu Henry.

 

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