Now that I've explained the mystery box portion it's time to talk about the madness. Decision making is not my strong suit. In fact, I'm quite sure anyone is better at decision making than me. So when I think about ten possible ingredients and the recipes of eleven chefs... well, it's almost as if my mind is afire with possibilities. Which three ingredients will I chose? How many different ways can I combine them? Who should I cook with? Can I use more than three ingredients? What if I tried to use all the ingredients and make a three course meal? Madness. Sheer Madness.
Finally I ran out of time and had to come up with something and here it is. The ingredients reminded me of the six months we spent cooking with Yotam Ottolenghi so I picked up one of his cookbooks. When I saw his recipe for Chickpea Saute with Greek Yogurt I was sold. A quick mixture of chickpeas, carrots, spinach, herbs, and warm spices topped with a cool tangy yogurt. The recipe did not include harissa, but I decided to add it into both the veggie mixture and also into the yogurt topping. I also added a sliced hard-boiled egg on top for some additional color and protein.
So here I am squeaking in at the last minute with this hearty vegetarian main dish. This dish is very comforting and satisfying without weighing you down. Very much like a lightly spiced veggie chili topped off by a very zesty and creamy harissa sauce. I'm looking forward to the leftovers already!
Chickpea Saute with Harissa Sauce
Adapted from Plenty
by Yotam Ottolenghi
3/4 pound (8 cups) Swiss Chard, Kale or Spinach
1/3 cup olive oil, plus extra to finish
4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 teaspoons cumin
1-1/2 cups freshly cooked chickpeas
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons harissa
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
2 tablespoons harissa
1 tablespoon olive oil
hard-boiled egg, for garnish
Separate the chard, or kale, stalks from the leaves. Blanch the stalks in plenty of boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Add the leaves and continue cooking for 2 minutes, then drain everything. Refresh under cold running water and squeeze dry, then chop roughly. (If using spinach no precooking is necessary. Roughly chop the spinach and it can be added directly to the pan with the chickpeas).
Heat up the olive oil in a large heavy saucepan. Add the carrots, caraway seeds, and cumin and saute for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the chard, kale, or spinach along with the chickpeas and continue cooking for 6 minutes. Now add the garlic, herbs, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of harissa. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
To serve, mix together the yogurt, the additional 2 tablespoons of harissa, 1 tablespoon olive oil and some salt and pepper. Pile the vegetables on serving dishes and spoon the harissa/yogurt sauce on top. Garnish with slices of hard boiled egg, if desired.
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