Baby, It's Cold Outside

It's cold here in Ottawa today. After spending a few hours outside walking my dog, I had my heart set on making this healing, warming chickpea veggie stew. I did a quick pantry scan and realized I fell short of a few ingredients, but there was no way I was going back out in the cold! I was missing broth; I only had red onions and sweet potatoes (not pearl onions and fingerling potatoes); nor did I have harissa.

                          Image via www.foodandwine.com 

                         Image via www.foodandwine.com 

After a few years of cooking regularly, I've learned some kitchen hacks that make life easier. First off, here's a great tip: No broth? No problem! When adding the onions in the first steps of this recipe,
I also added chopped carrots and celery. A great base for any broth is 50% chopped onions to 25% chopped carrots and 25% celery (or 2:1:1 if you like ratios). This combo is called mirepoix and is used to add flavor and aroma to stocks, sauces, soups and other foods. Since I wasn't using broth, I simply added 3 cups of water instead.

I also swapped in red onion and sweet potato. I'm a big fan of sweet potatoes as they are super high in beta carotene (the precursor to Vitamin A), which is a key antioxidant.

I didn't have harissa either, but I knew I probably had most of the key ingredients. I googled "harissa spice blend" and came across a great recipe. I didn't have the exact spices required, but made a modified version using small amounts of cayenne, cumin, coriander, smokey paprika, and caraway. If you don't have those particular spices, I think garam masala, chili powder, or cumin and cinnamon would pair nicely with this stew.

I absolutely love how it turned out. Give it a try and let me know if you made any of your own modifications!