Thursday, December 20, 2012

Greek Chickpea Stew ( Revythia )

This is another Greek dish that traditionally done, takes hours. This is the traditional way: Use dried, whole chickpeas. Soak them overnight in water with a little baking soda. The next day, put them between two layers of kitchen towels, and roll them with a rolling pin till they split in half. Remove all the skins. Prepare Sauce, and simmer sauce with halved chickpeas on the stove top for about 3 hours, until tender. About halfway through cooking time, add sliced celery OR spinach.

It is my theory that the chickpeas were traditionally split to reduce cooking times and save very expensive fuel.

In modern times, pre-split and skinned chickpeas may be bought, but I have been unable to find any here in the US. (Indian Chana Dal is split, skinned chickpeas, but it is a much smaller chickpea than the European type).

I have hand-split chickpeas before, and, well, either I'm not good at it, or it is a VERY time consuming task for everyone. I decided they taste fine whole ; )

Here is my modern, American method:

Soak in refrigerator: 2 cups Chickpeas in water with 1 or 2 teaspoons Baking Soda* added. 
The next day, drain and rinse Chickpeas
Place in Crock
2 Cups Dry, Soaked Chickpeas* (I buy them in the Indian Grocery as Kabuli Chana)
5 to 6 Cups water (depending how soupy you like it)
5 Cups Yachni

Cook in Slow Cooker or Crock Pot on High
for 9 or more hours (it is VERY hard to overcook Chickpeas!)

In the last hour of cooking time, add
4 stalks sliced Celery OR add a bag of Thawed Frozen Spinach (Personally, I much prefer the Spinach : )

Serve with Bread & Salad.

* Baking Soda really helps tenderize the beans, and helps compensate for cooking them in a Tomato-based sauce, which normally would toughen them.

This freezes well.

Slow Cooker Method 2
(not quite as tasty, but if it's what you have on hand, it's not too bad )
3 15 oz cans drained chickpeas
4 to 5 cups Yachni
3 stalks sliced celery
Cook on Low 6 hours.

Tip for dining with Omnivores: this dish is quite hearty and requires no added meat to be filling for anyone, but you can always add a grilled bit of pork or chicken on the side for someone who really wants meat at every meal.

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