It's not often that I use a recipe from a magazine. I used to, certainly, it's how I learned to cook, but that was a long time ago. I much prefer the creativity of making up my own.
Recently however, as I was waiting in line at the checkout, the photo on the cover of the October issue of Vegetarian Times caught my eye - a tempting baked pumpkin holding a medley of stewed vegetables. Leafing through the magazine, I saw a recipe for chickpea tagine with cinnamon, cumin and carrots. I simply couldn't resist so here you have it: my version, of course, in which I added eggplant, substituted cilantro for the parsley, heaped on more honey, and used a quince. Mostly because I didn't have the currents called for, but also because I knew quince would compliment the rest of the ingredients. I love it when I'm right. The quinces below are this year's harvest from my fickle quince bush. Some years I get a lot, other years I get nothing. This is a good year.
The chickpea stew comes together very quickly. You can have it on the table in less than one hour from start to plating. The combination of spices sing North Africa and you can control the heat by using more or less cayenne pepper. I highly recommend putting a dollop of yogurt on each serving and that you ferret out the last of the summer's cilantro as a finishing touch. Make the dish vegan by using a dairy-free soy yogurt.
Spicy Chickpea Stew with Eggplant, Carrots and QuinceAdapted from the October '08 issue of Vegetarian Times magazine
3 medium eggplants, cubed
3 large carrots, sliced
1 ripe quince (the size of a medium apple), peeled, cored, chopped, yielding 1/2 cup
1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped medium
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 cups water
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon each ground turmeric, cinnamon, cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon honey, heaping
kosher salt to taste
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Non-fat Greek-style yogurt
olive oil for the pan
Drizzle large cast iron pan or large pot with about 2 teaspoons olive oil and heat over medium-high.
Saute the onions and carrots until softened, add the garlic and quince and saute until golden.
Add the eggplant, spices, honey, chickpeas and water. Stir, cover and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through but still hold their shape.
Season to taste with kosher salt if needed. Serve hot with a dollop of yogurt, sprinkled with the chopped cilantro.
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