Recipe Source: Klein, Donna. Vegan Italiano. The Penguin Group, New York, 2006 p. 97.
It's getting easier to tell when it's getting closer to the end of the month, isn't it? I'm trying to keep my food spending below what it was last year, and the easiest way to judge my progress is on a monthly basis. That's only so effective of course. Some months wind up having more food-shopping days in them than others, it's just how the calendar works. Still, it's a yard stick by which I can measure myself. I can tell you - well, by the time you read this January will be long past, but I made this recipe when there was still a good week left in January and I was already past the previous year. I think what did it was re-stocking on the things I used up between November and New Year's, as well as having had an exceptionally parsimonious January in 2012. At any rate, the whole point of that little rant was that you can tell that I'm getting toward the end of the month because of the preponderance of bean recipes. Maybe if I use more bean recipes during the month I won't be loading them all toward the end? Hmm, that suggests planning...
For those of you who don't know me personally, I'm not doing this for any pressing financial reason. It's good to save money when we can, because there's no reason to be profligate and besides, I can use what I save on yarn. No, I actually went to graduate school for accountancy. All of my professional experience is in budgeting, financial planning and accounting. I don't do that kind of work anymore, but I can't NOT try to budget and plan. It's hard-wired into my brain and if I don't express it this way it will be expressed in other ways. Other, less constructive ways. So pardon me for a moment while I get my spreadsheets put away...
Anyway, the thing with beans and legumes is that they aren't only cheap, they're healthy. They also happen to be delicious. It doesn't feel like a hardship in any way to eat this way. I had intended to do this with dried beans but didn't get around to soaking the beans overnight. (Toddlers can do that to a person. I won't get into it, but there was a sudden and unexpected shower required. For both of us.) I had one can of chickpeas on hand. The recipe called for two. I could have made up the difference with black beans, but that would have changed the look of the dish and I'm not sure it would have done great things for the flavor. Furthermore, I would not have been able to resist adding chipotles. I decided to use some of my stash of split urad instead. Now, the original recipe is Italian and urad are a distinctly Indian ingredient. Both countries start with I. Seriously though, while this was not ideal I think that the urad gave an interesting texture to the finished product and made the whole dish seem heartier somehow. If I have occasion to make this again I will absolutely mix split urad in again. I increased the garlic because it's me, also because it's flu season. I added an onion because why not? I had every intention of using a whole jar of tomatoes from the beginning - this is a little more than double what was originally called for, but urad are dry and frankly tomatoes are super good for you (especially if you're male.) I therefore used a whole bunch of sage which was an increase - I wanted the sage flavor to still be detectable. I reduced the amount of olive oil because I just don't need so much fat in my life, even heart-healthy fat like olive oil. Finally, I discovered that I had finally used up my entire hoard of vegetable broth when I went to add it to the dish. I could have used chicken, of which I have an enormous quantity of unknown origin, or beef, but either of these would have made the dish distinctly non-vegan. We aren't a vegan or even a vegetarian family, but if I've made a decision to have a meatless meal I feel like I want to stick with it. I decided to go with red wine instead, on the basis that wine is made from fruit and fruit comes from the same part of the food pyramid as vegetables. This is how my mind works, or at least how it works when I want to justify what I want to do anyway.
The results were good. This was definitely a hearty dish. I went in being very hungry and I did not need seconds of this dish. My daughter ate her entire serving with very little coaxing, which should make her entertaining at pre-school today. My husband ate everything that I didn't so I guess he liked it too.
Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Sage (serves 4; approx. $1.63/serving)
1 onion, chopped
8 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 15-oz can chickpeas
1 cup split urad dal
1 jar canned tomatoes, with liquid
1 cup red wine (I used a Chilean Pinot Noir because that's what I had open)
1 bunch fresh sage, chipped
1/2 teaspoon urfa pepper
- Large, deep saute pan
- Heat the oil in the saute pan.
- Add the garlic and onions. Saute gently until softened.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat. Simmer until the sauce is thickened and the urad are tender enough to eat. I will be shocked if this takes more than half an hour.