August 3, 2009

Aussie spinach and chickpeas

My cooking radar has been a bit low of late. I have managed to spend more nights out at dinner time than in, thus my slack blogging record of late. I was going to blog about the chicken wings I popped under the grill a few days ago but to my horror I forgot to recharge my camera battery and all I had was one very blurry shot before the whole thing shut down. I did contemplate waiting a bit and shooting but Max had a mate over for dinner and I didn't think waiting for Mrs.B to shoot the food was something the boys wanted to introduce to outsiders, especially not their friends; I decided to recharge and feed them all while the food was still warm.
Last nights meal was a bit of a slap together and see how it turned out kind of dinner. Nic wanted curry, I didn't know what I wanted and the boys were after pizza, burgers or anything that resembles fast food (we are entering the phase of everything MUST taste better because we have to buy it from a store, something I am hoping won't last very long!).

I had a can of chickpeas, some Aussie spinach (I've always known it as silverbeet), four new potatoes and a tin of whole tomatoes. I started on the idea of curry but then slowly changed my mind and produced a vegetable stew with ginger, garlic and lemon flavours.

Starting the meal I sauteed onions (quite a lot, about 2 large ones) in a knob of butter with the lid on and on medium heat for about 10 minutes, allowing the onions to get really soft, sweet and caramelise. Then I added chopped garlic and ginger; I wanted a more gingery flavour so I tossed in a tablespoon of chopped ginger to about 2 small garlic cloves. After a few minutes I added sliced, raw new potatoes about 1 cm thick; stirring to combine I then threw in the spinach. I washed it before so the remaining water would help remove the tasty bits on the bottom of the frying pan. Silver beet can take a bit of cooking to produce a soft vegetable, especially when you leave a little of the white stem attached with the green.

When I cook vegetables on a low-medium heat I love the flavour of citrus to develop through the dish so I squeezed in half a lemon to the dish, after squeezing I throw the whole half in the dish for extra flavour, add chopped tomatoes (not the liquid it sits in) give it a stir and put the lid on and leave it for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Last but not lease I drained the tin of chickpeas and added them to the dish in the last 5 minutes of cooking just to heat through so they kept their shape and texture.
The end result was really tasty and to give it another dimension I added some roughly chopped coriander (cilantro) just before serving to compliment the ginger and lemon flavours (and chopped chilli for Nic and I). When I came to serve the dish there was no way the boys would of eaten it as is, so I got out some tortillas and made theirs into burritos while ours were served on the side and we used the tortilla to mop up the stew. A great combo, Max enjoyed it, Alex enjoyed picking out the chickpeas and potato while seething at the spinach and Nic and I enjoyed every last mouthful.

Note: Because we have a hideous electric oven and stove I had to come up with a quick and simple way to heat the tortillas (they were a last minute idea) so I threw them on top of the stew with the lid on for 1-2 minutes to soften and warm them. It did the trick and saved me on dishes!


TKW said...

I have done the whole "argh! forgot to charge the battery!" thing more times than I care to count.

My kids wouldn't eat this even IN a tortilla, so you get high marks.

I think it looks delicious.

Camilla Baker said...

Good to know I'm not alone!
I'd say Alex left more green on the plate than in his mouth- but I guess i have to give him points for trying