The Cooking Chronicles: More with Legumes

As I have mentioned in the past, I’ve been trying to incorporate more legumes in our diet. The biggest difference this year is that I am actively trying to lessen my reliance on canned beans. Although we will likely still keep a few on hand (they’re great in a pinch), dried beans are cheaper, I can then control what goes into them, and they are free from the BPA that is present in the lining of cans.

I think I only cooked dried legumes twice all last year, but so far in 2012, I’ve already made three batches. With some planning, I’ve found it not to be a burden at all – I soak them before leaving for work, cook them that evening, and then have them ready to go for the following day. I’ve been freezing the leftovers in small bags, so they’re handy for future meals. We’ll see how long I am able to continue this, but in the meantime, I am still determined to try new recipes that feature legumes.

Mexican Fried Rice

Our go-to fried rice involves eggs and barbecue pork, but the Mexican version in Julie van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan’s Spilling the Beans with chorizo, black beans, tomatoes and cheddar seemed like it was worth a try.

The black beans definitely fortified the dish, but even with the chorizo, it wasn’t quite interesting enough. I think it would have made a difference if I had a cast iron pan that was large enough to accommodate all of the rice (charring it would have added a lot of flavour). As well, the rice would have also benefited from other spices – cumin was the dominant (and only) fragrance. 

Mexican Fried Rice

Mexican fried rice

Moroccan Chickpea Stew

The fruit in the ingredients list drew me to this Moroccan chickpea stew – with both apples and dried apricots, I wasn’t sure if the final product would end up much too sweet.

Thankfully, the answer was no. In addition, the apricots cooked down to the point where they more closely resembled the other softened vegetables, and with the chickpeas, it made for a light but satisfying supper.

Moroccan Chickpea Stew

Moroccan chickpea stew

Dumpling and Chickpea Stew

Our last attempt at dumplings failed miserably, but I did want to try another recipe at some point. Given the previous dumplings lacked flavour, Daphne Oz’s inclusion of cornmeal in the batter of her recipe piqued my interest. She also chose to highlight this recipe as a dish she would include in her “last supper”, so it had to be good, right?

We learned from our previous experience that the size of the dumplings matter, so we made sure to form smaller ones in the simmering soup. The cornmeal did add some interesting texture, and as a whole, I think they were a success – moist and light as they were – and most importantly, they cooked all the way through! The dumplings also helped thicken the broth somewhat, which, paired with the chickpeas, made it a heartier dish.

Dumpling and Chickpea Stew

Dumpling and chickpea stew

I’m just not sure it would be last supper material, at least not for me.

2 thoughts on “The Cooking Chronicles: More with Legumes

  1. Marie from the English Kitchen has a fabulous dumpling recipe. Its my go-to one, and brilliant with stews.

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