Don and I have a house guest from Pakistan, Muhamad Ishaq Israr. We are all learning a great deal about one another. Ishaq is attending Eastern Mennonite University’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute. This is the third year we have had SPI participants stay with us during their training. The first two years we hosted men from Kenya and we have kept in touch with both of them ever since. We love having friends from around the world!
Ishaq is Muslim and if he eats meat, it must be Halal (killed in a particular way), so we are eating mostly vegetarian meals and some fish (which does not have to be slaughtered in this manner).
I made an amazing Mediterranean Vegetable Stew with Chickpeas over the weekend, along with many other foods since I was the designated cook for a service weekend at Shiloh Quaker Camp (more recipes coming soon). As usual, I made a few substitutions to the original recipe, which came from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cookerby Robin Robertson. All of the recipes I have made from this cookbook are excellent. I have noticed that the technique that makes these recipes so good is to stir fry some of the vegetables in olive oil before putting them in the crock pot. Before I started doing this, everything in the slow cooker tasted exactly the same to me so I have never been a big fan of this type of cooking. I have changed my mind, however; now I love it.
Mediterranean Vegetable Stew with Chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, diced
2 large carrots, cut in rounds
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound small red potatoes, quartered
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
1 cup artichoke hearts, quartered (canned or frozen)
1 can diced tomatoes (with juice)
1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon (or more to taste) fennel seeds or one fennel bulb, stalks discarded, diced
2 cups water
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh, minced)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 teaspoon fresh, minced)
1 large bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and carrots and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Spray a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker with Pam (Olive or Canola Oil spray). Transfer the cooked vegetables to the slow cooker. Add all the other ingredients. Stir. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours until the vegetables are all tender and flavors are thoroughly mixed. Remove and discard the bay leaf before serving.