It snowed like a January blizzard yesterday. Yes, it was Cinco de Mayo and it was blowing so hard we didn’t venture the two blocks from our house to La Laguna.
We didn’t feel much like celebrating with guacamole and margaritas anyway when it felt like ski season again with six inches of snow on the ground. Instead, I put a pot of garbanzos on to boil in late afternoon.
I felt inspired to make a simple yet rich chicken broth-based garbanzo bean soup like the one I had at Craft years ago. But with no local chicken in my freezer and an aversion to buying factory-farmed birds, I looked instead to a stand-by from Madhur Jaffrey’s World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking.
I got the cookbook at a Friends of the Library booksale in Seattle over 10 years ago. A paperback, it split into three pieces, which my 2-year-old loved to pull out and further dismember.
I kept patching it back together before impulsively recycling the whole thing with the intention of ordering her entire cookbook collection and her memoir.
How a famous screen actress gave me a winning vegetarian stew recipe.
Like most Americans, I know Jaffrey best through her cookbooks and food writing. Then, two weeks ago, I saw an example of her exquisite skills as a character actress and got a sense of how funny she is.
Jaffrey stars in the new movie Today’s Special with Aasif Mandvi of The Daily Show who wrote the screenplay. It’s not in release until fall, but Foodista hosted a late-night screening for food professionals at the IACP conference in Portland, a conference highlight.
I didn’t speak to Jaffrey. She’s so regal and worldly and I didn’t think I had anything to say.
But now I wish that I had simply thanked her in person for, among so many other gifts, her simple recipe for garbanzo tomato stew that sustained my family on a busy, stormy night in May.
I hope your family enjoys this someday soon.
Lamb Tomato Stew
Since my cookbook self-destructed, this is my recollection and reproduction of Madhur Jaffrey's original recipe. It is onion-y, slick with olive oil and all you need for a simple supper. As you can tell, it comes together very quickly. So when chaos ensues, you can still have a good dinner!
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped (about 4 cups)
- 3 cups cooked garbanzo beans or 1 14-ounce cans, drained and rinsed
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley optional
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-heat heat. Cook the onions in the oil until translucent without letting them brown, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.
Add the garbanzos and tomatoes, breaking the tomatoes up with your fingers, and add all of their juice.
Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and taste for seasoning. Serve topped with the parsley, if desired.