Savory Chickpea Stew

In an earlier post with a recipe for Red Cabbage Salad I referenced the macrobiotic chef I interned with who made delicious meals for the students at my acupuncture college, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. I was able to wrangle a few recipes from Nancy for some of my favorite dishes. This Chickpea Stew can also be made as a soup, omitting the squash and the seitan. Its a hearty, one-dish meal, for autumn and winter.

In Chinese dietary therapy, we recommend eating differently during each season. In the spring and summer one eats lighter foods and above ground crops. In the autumn the yin begins to rise. Yin energy represents darkness, cold, quiescence, feminine, earth, sweet, substance and blood. During the autumn season the cool yin begins to assert itself from the warm yang energy of summer. In the yin seasons of autumn and winter we want to nourish yin dietarily, by emphasizing root crops, growing in the earth. 

Sweet squashes harvested in the autumn nourish yin. Warm, hearty stews, especially made with root vegetables are particularly beneficial to consume in the cool, yin seasons of autumn  and winter.

This Savory Chickpea Stew nourishes the earth element, pertaining to the Spleen and Stomach due to its sweet flavor and golden color. You will relish the subtle blend of flavors. In Chinese medicine we talk about the five phases and organ systems. Each has a season, color, flavor, organ, emotion and sound associated with it. This stew will benefit those with digestive conditions due to weakness or deficiency. Speak to your acupuncturist to find out if you have an excess of deficient problem. 

Deficiency is characterized by weakness and fatigue. Those with Spleen Qi Deficiency will commonly experience bloating, gas, belching, fatigue, especially after meals, over-thinking, worrying, racing thoughts, cloudy or foggy-headedness. Thinking is a function of the Spleen system in Chinese medicine. Those with weak Spleens tend to worry, and conversely excessive worrying weakens the Spleen.

Savory Chickpea Stew
3C Chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
1 strips kombu
9 bay leaves (yea, that’s correct, nine)
3 yellow onions, diced
olive oil
3 10″ pieces burdock root, brushed & cut in rounds
6 cloves garlic, minced
3/8C white miso
3 lemons: zest
1 medium-large winter squash, cubed (butternut, acorn, kombucha, carnival)
12 oz seitan, cubed (wheat gluten product)
filtered water & 1 quart vegetable stock
minced parsley for garnish
cider vinegar
Heat olive oil in bottom of large pressure cooker. Saute onions and garlic with salt until translucent. Add burdock and squash and saute until veggies sweat. Add seitan and saute until slightly golden. Add chickpeas, kombu, bay leaf and cover with 1 1/2 ” water/stock combination. Bring to high pressure and cook 30 minutes. Turn off heat and natural release pressure.

Pull out half the beans and mash or puree. Stir mashed beans into stew to give a hearty consistency. Add 3/4C soup to the miso and blend, then add back to stew. Stir in lemon zest. Add cider vinegar to taste to pop flavors. Garnish with minced parsley.

yield: 4 quarts

What is seitan? 
Seitan is a wheat gluten product found in the refrigerator section of the natural food store, near the tofu and tempeh. its fairly high in protein for a vegetable source: 6 oz contains approximately 20g.
Photo: Avlxyz, flickr Creative Commons 2.0