Spring Beekeeping Workshop

Spring Beekeeping Workshop
Demonstration Hive

Thursday, January 28, 2010

last minute winter pot-luck meal

So, asked 2 days before a big community gardening event to bring a large pot of something to share, I quickly did an inventory of my pantry and freezer to see what I could rustle up that would meet the criteria - seasonal, locally grown, vegan and gluten-free! Hmm...

Because I have several large heads of cabbage frozen whole from my fall garden, I decided to build the dish around that ingredient. Freezing the cabbage this way is simple, I just clean off any unsavory-looking outer leaves and check for insects, then wrap in wax paper and put each head into a plastic grocery bag and twist tightly. That's all you have to do. When it's time to use the cabbage, just unwrap and leave the cabbage in a bowl on the counter. A lot of water comes out of the cabbage and you can use that in cooking various things such as rice, beans or soup stock. The defrosted cabbage leaves are limp and can easily be used for stuffed cabbage without the fuss of blanching the whole head in boiling water and trying to peel off the leaves without tearing.

I decided not to make stuffed cabbage this time because it is a bit fiddly and would take longer to prepare in the quantity I needed. So I simply chopped the cabbage up and made a Cabbage and Chick Pea Stew. Here is the recipe:

1 1/2 lbs dried chick peas (you can substitute canned cooked chickpeas)
1 1/2 large heads of cabbage, chopped (use fresh or frozen)
2 large onions, chopped
Olive oil or Canola oil.
32 oz tomato juice
8 garlic cloves, minced
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Put the chick peas into a large pot and cover with boiling water. Let soak for at least 6 hours. Drain the chick peas and put back in the pot and cover generously with cold water. There should be at least one inch of water above the chick peas. Bring the pot to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until the chick peas are tender but not too soft. This will take about 15 minutes. Drain the cooking water and retain it for cooking something else.

Chop the onions roughly and mince the garlic. Using a large skillet, pour in a circle of oil about 3 inches in diameter and heat until the oil spreads over the bottom of the pan thinly. When hot, add the chopped onions and garlic and saute until golden.

Then add the chopped cabbage in batches and toss each batch with two large spoons until coated with the onion, garlic and oil mixture. Saute the whole mixture for 5 - 10 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a crock pot, add the chick peas and the tomato juice and mix together well. Cook on high for one hour. Turn the control to low and continue cooking for a few more hours. The longer you cook this dish the better it is.

I used two separate crock pots for this size recipe.

If you don't have time to cook it in a crock pot slowly, then cook it in a 350 degree oven, uncovered, for at least one hour. The ingredients should all be well-cooked, the cabbage tender, and the juice bubbling around the edges and just starting to stick to the pot.

Taste for doneness and add sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.

I hope you like this dish. It is not 100% locally grown since the chick peas and tomato juice are not. But it is seasonally appropriate and partially local. Not bad with no advance warning. I did not have to go out and buy any of the ingredients for this meal, they were all on hand. Another plus, it is a very economical meal for serving a crowd.

Please let me know if you try this and how it works out for you.

Happy Cooking this winter.