Anne Bancroft's Chickpea Stew Recipe
This recipe was given by the New York actress Anne Bancroft to Toronto writer Warren Dunford in the 1990s. It has a lightly-spiced flavour that is warm and distinctive. Easily doubled or tripled for a crowd. Serve in a bowl with a good bread.
- Wash the zucchini and eggplant both before cutting into cubes roughly 1 cm (1/2 inch) or a bit larger, but don't peel. Peel and chop the onion -- coarsely or finely, it doesn't matter.
- Start heating oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas Mark 4.
- Sauté onion in the oil for five minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. Then add the zucchini and egg plant, and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, just until the onions get a bit golden. The eggplant and zucchini won't colour up much.
- Tip them into an oven proof dish, and stir in all the remaining ingredients.
- Bake uncovered for about 2 hours at 175 C (350 F).
- [Tip: if it goes dry on you, thin it with some white wine, stock, or water to keep it stew-like. That being said, you *can* let it completely thicken, and serve it on rice.]
- To make in a crockpot, leave out 125 ml (1/2 cup / 4 oz) of the vegetable stock (as less evaporation happens in crockpot) and cook for 3 to 4 hours on high, or longer on low. [Optional: after crock pot cooking, you could then toss into an oven-safe dish and bake at about 200 C (400 F) for 1/2 an hour to condense the flavours more.
If you don't need this to be a vegetarian dish, you can use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth. The spicing might on first blush seem to be very timid, but it's actually just right and quite distinctive. 1 cup of eggplant is about half an average medium-sized eggplant ( 250 g / about 8 oz); ditto for the zucchini. So, if you don't mind leftovers (it freezes well), you might as well consider doubling the batch so you're not left wondering what to do with the rest of the eggplant and zucchini. You can serve some of the leftovers over rice for a change of pace. 1 cup of onion is 1 medium-sized onion (225 g / 8 oz.) 19 oz tins are about 550 ml. If you have larger sized tins, just measure out the volume you need, and store the rest in a container in the fridge for future use.
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* Nutrition info provided by http://caloriecount.about.com