With cooler weather rapidly approaching, I love turning to my slow cooker for easy weeknight meals.
But I also like to play with flavors – and since I do a ton of Italian, French, and Mediterranean cooking, I decided to change things up and concoct a stew that borrowed some elements from the Peruvian flavor profile.
This humble stew uses cumin, coriander, chili powder, garlic, marjoram, Bay leaf, and cilantro to good advantage. The wonderful chili powder I used was bought in Sante Fe’s farmers market from Trujillo Farm and Orchard de Nambre.
I’ve got about 3 ounces left and I treasure it – because who knows when I’ll get back to lovely Sante Fe!
You’ll really get your full complement of veggies (organic, if possible) in this delicious vegan and gluten-free stew:
- Yellow and red bell peppers
- Green beans
I also did a “double chick” play for protein with both Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) and Beyond Meat’s Beyond Chicken Southwest Style Strips.
Yes, I confess that this is a definitely a made-up stew and not authentically Peruvian. To make this more traditional, you would naturally serve it over quinoa. But my carnivores have pleaded with me for a quinoa-break, and I complied by substituting organic brown basmati rice to soak up the delicious juices.
Rounding out the meal with oven-roasted butternut squash smiles made for an easy, filling, and incredibly nutritious vegan and gluten-free family supper.
Now I just need to find a truly great vegetarian Peruvian cookbook. Anyone out there have some suggestions?
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium sweet onions, chopped
- 2 gloves garlic, minced
- 1 stalk organic celery, minced
- 1 large organic carrot, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
- 1 red or orange organic bell pepper, chopped
- 1 yellow organic bell pepper, chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground organic cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground organic coriander
- ½ teaspoon really good chili powder
- 4 organic tomatoes, chopped
- 1 15-ounce can organic chickpeas (garbanzo beans), along with the cooking liquid can (or drain and rinse them and add an equivalent amount of stock)
- ¾ lb. organic green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1 medium organic zucchini, sliced on the diagonal
- Several sprigs of fresh marjoram (or oregano)
- 1 fresh Bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup organic brown basmati rice (or 1 cup quinoa if your family isn’t tired of it!)
- 1 tablespoon chipotle flavored olive oil
- 1 9-ounce bag Beyond Meat's Beyond Chicken Southwestern Style Strips
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or a slow cooker with a sauté function (like Cusinart Cook Central). Sauté the chopped onion for 5 minutes, followed by the garlic, celery and carrots. Continue to cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes. Add the peppers, cumin, coriander, and chili powder and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- At this point, if you are using a skillet, scrape the sautéed veggies and spices into the slow cooker. If you’re using a slow cooker with a sauté function, just continue the recipe – and congratulate yourself on making a wise purchase that saves you time and eliminates cleaning that skillet!)
- Add the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas (undrained), green beans, zucchini, marjoram or oregano, Bay leaf, sea salt and black pepper. Set the slow cooker to low for 2-3 hours.
- About an hour before serving, rinse the rice well. Place it in a pot with 2 cups of boiling water and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Cook for 45-50 minutes. (If your are making quinoa instead of rice you can wait until about 20 minutes before serving to start the quinoa. After you rinse the quinoa well to remove the bitter protective coating called saponin, toast it in a lightly oiled skillet for about 5 minutes to give it a more nutty taste and to make sure all the seeds are dry. Remember, quinoa is a seed, not a grain. You can use either boiling water (with a little sea salt) or a good quality organic vegetable stock as your cooking liquid. Quinoa will cook more quickly than rice – in about 15 minutes! If you’d like more info, here’s a great post on making quinoa from Eating Well.) http://www.eatingwell.com/article/75424/how-to-cook-quinoa/
- About five minutes before serving, sauté the frozen Beyond Meat Southwestern Strips in the chipotle flavored olive oil for three minutes or so until thawed and heated completely through. Remember, because these strips are not meat, you don’t want to overcook them!
- Add the cooked strips to the stew, along with the chopped cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove the Bay leaf and marjoram or oregano sprigs and serve over rice or quinoa.
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