07 January 2008

Comfort Food Leftovers


In the interest in using some of our stockpiles of dry goods and because it's serious comfort food season, I've been in a beans and bread frame of mind lately. Last night it was garbanzo stew with maple walnut spelt bread, and I brought leftovers to work with me tonight. And since I've got little else to say at the moment, I thought it'd make for some good blog fodder.

So without further ado, here are a couple recipes for your consideration:

Easy Pressure Cooker Garbanzo Stew

When I lived in Spain (20 years ago this spring!), I boarded with a family and Berta, the wife, would often make different bean stews for the midday meal, using a pressure cooker to save time. Garbanzos were a popular choice, though this one isn't identical to hers. The quick way to cook these is to presoak the peas for a couple of hours by bringing them to pressure in the cooker and turning off the heat as soon as the steam starts venting. After letting them soak, change the water, making sure there is about 1 inch of water above the level of the peas and adding a couple tablespoons of olive oil to prevent foaming and two to three sliced cloves of garlic. It is important NOT to add any salt or anything acidic at this stage, as it will keep the peas from getting tender. Bring the pot back up to pressure and reduce heat so the vent is just rattling and keep at pressure for 20-25 minutes.

At the end of the cooking period, remove the pot from heat and place in the sink under cold water to reduce the pressure so that you can remove the lid. Then add one 12 oz. can of chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, 3-4 bay leaves, cumin, thyme and coriander to taste. Simmer on the stove top until the stew is creamy and serve.

Maple Walnut Spelt Bread

- 3 cups whole grain spelt flour, plus additional for kneading
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 3/4 cup hot water
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (the real thing, NOT Log Cabin® or Mrs. Butterworth's®)
- 1 packet bread yeast
- 1 large egg
- olive oil & butter

Mix the hot water, yogurt and maple syrup and mix in the yeast, then set aside to let the yeast proof. Mix the flour, salt, and walnuts together. Once the yeast solution is foamy on top, beat in the egg and then mix with the flour. This will make a fairly wet, sticky dough initially, but my aim was not to work it too much, in order to avoid making a really dense bread.

Beat for about 30 seconds to one minute in the bowl to activate the gluten a bit, then turn onto a well-floured board and begin kneading in additional flour just until the dough is cohesive (again to avoid making it too dense). Oil the bowl well and return the dough to the bowl, cover with a clean dish towel and place in a warm dark area (I warm the oven just a bit) for an hour or two until the dough has doubled in bulk.

Punch down the dough and knead again for about five minutes. Separate the dough into two loaves and place in two bread pans that have been greased well with butter. Again cover with the dish towel and place back in a warm spot for the second rising.

Once the loaves have doubled in bulk again, preheat the oven to 400°F(205°C) and bake them for about 30 minutes, or until the loaf is dark brown on top and sounds hollow when tapped. Wrapping them in a dish towel briefly softens the crust. Slice and serve.

This recipe was developed on the fly, but my main aim was to make a whole grain bread that wasn't overly dense and I think I succeeded. Because the dough wasn't worked too much, it resulted in a more crumbly than chewy bread, but the flavor is excellent and I'd definitely make this one again.


Franklin said...

Hungry now. Want soup. Mmmmmmm.

Rabbitch said...

nom nom nom.

Set an extra place will you?

knitnzu said...

That all looks yummy. I'll be over soon too.... (don't you wonder about folks that don't know what maple syrup is, or for that matter, butter...)

Karen said...

Longtime lurker...thanks for the soup 'recipe'. I'm always on the look out for new ideas for the pressure cooker. I actually soaked some navy beans last night and have them cooking now.

vuboq said...

Yum! Is there some way to make the beans without a pressure cooker? Maybe if I used canned beans, I guess?

Elemmaciltur said...

If only I had a pressure cooker. *drools*

Sheepish Annie said...

One of my teaching assistants last year had a pressure cooker and swore by it for garbanzo beans. (we had a little friendly competition going with the hummus making...)

And that bread sounds just heavenly! Once I get past the holiday poundage battle, that one is going on the to-do list.

Anonymous said...

I need a pressure cooker to cook beans. They just never are done enough on the stove-top and not at our altitude. All beans need to be cooked a very long time to reduce the "wind" factor!

I actually made some focaccia on Sunday night using spelt. I did mix in about half whole wheat flour since I wasn't used to spelt. I was very pleased with the result! I'll do this again, and soon, since I'm all out! I also made some hummus last night, and they go together so very well!

But bean stew sounds like a really good idea too. Hmm...

knittingboykit said...

so, Mel, can I get you to do a pressure cooker tutoring session (assuming I can actually find my pressure cooker and all its attendant parts!)

Liz said...

wow - I know what I'm doing Tuesday now: making soup and bread!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mel! I'm new here -- just bounced over from Franklin's blog to read about Phoebe. I'm jumping in here bleatedly, but would you please let me know if she has any additional medical needs that I can help with? You can reach me at: animals_forlife@yahoo.com

I'm the shelter manager for a small non-profit humane organization and we are so grateful to have generous veterinarians like yourself to work with -- we have several in our community! I also knit and have spent many summers on the coast of Maine (York Beach). Kind of sounds like we're two peas in a pod! I know that I'll enjoy your blog and now have you bookmarked! Enjoy the day! Sue