Food is Love, Love is Food.

A blog devoted to the connection between meals, memories and the special moments in our lives.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Meals for Veggies and Carnivores Alike: Pureed Garbanzo Beans with Lemon and Olive Oil

About a year and a half ago, our 11 year old daughter told us that she wanted to become a vegetarian. We had seen this day coming for a long time. She had always been an animal lover. ‘Doggie’ was one of Emy’s very first word, and she called every living creature by that name, from actual dogs to the jellyfish in giant tanks she saw at an aquarium at a year old, to toddlers she would see at the grocery store, much to their mothers’ displeasure. When she was about four or five and made the connection that the meat she was eating was actually an animal (that the chicken on the plate was once a chicken running around a farm somewhere, and had been a real living thing), she was devastated. But she loved meat so much, she continued eating it. She and her sister Anna made a pact at that point, a self-imposed ban on the eating of any of the ‘cute’ animals, which they defined as bunnies, lambs, deer and piggies. When they discovered that sausage came from pigs, they changed their minds quickly and resigned themselves to the idea of eating this one cute animal; “Well Anna, I guess we’re eating pigs,” Emy said dejectedly to her little sister.

Since she had struggled with this idea at such an early age, we were not terribly surprised at her decision to start eating a vegetarian diet. We were a little nervous about it, honestly. While Michael and I applauded our daughter’s decision to stand up for something about which she felt strongly, we worried that she would not get the nutrients she needed, and that we would have to rely too much on processed meat substitutes. We worried about protein, iron, and all those other things that eating meat delivered so conveniently. We made some ground rules; being a vegetarian meant that she had to actually eat vegetables, not just avoid meat, she had to respect the decision of other people who chose to eat meat (in other words, I don’t want to hear any comments when I am eating my veal chop, thank you very much!), and she would have to be flexible and make do when we went to friends’ houses for dinner. She has done really well, and we are always looking for ways to support her. I love it when I find things to prepare for dinner which will not entail preparing two separate meals. There is something very lovely about sitting down as a family to the same meal, or at least a very similar one. This meal works well for us. The carnivores in the family are satisfied to have the garbanzo bean puree with a few slices of meat, and our little veggie girl loves it. I am perfectly happy to have this with or without meat, and it makes enough that we have plenty of leftovers.

This is a dish that is good comfort food in the winter or summer. You can serve it with roasted vegetables or roasted meat. Chicken or lamb work exceptionally well. It keeps well, can be made a few days ahead of time, and is very healthy too.

Garbanzo bean puree:

1 pound dry garbanzo beans, soaked overnight
32 ounces chicken stock plus enough water to cover beans by 2 inches
4 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
Juice of 2 lemons
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Place beans in a stock pot with the chicken stock, water, bay leaf, 2 cloves garlic, crushed, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and allow to continue boiling for 4 to 5 minutes. Lower heat to simmer and cover, simmering for about an hour, or until garbanzo beans are very tender. Remove beans, reserving cooking liquid. In 2 batches, puree beans with remaining cloves of garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and enough of the cooking liquid to make it a smooth paste. You can adjust the liquid according to the consistency you like best. This puree is excellent served with roasted vegetable, chicken or lamb.

No comments:

Post a Comment