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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Hearty Stew with Coriander Seeds and Urfa Pepper

Feeling inspired after flipping through Yotam Ottolenghi and Sammi Tamimi’s cookbook Ottolenghi, I made this lightly spicy dish of carrots and chickpeas cooked with a healthy helping of whole coriander seeds and Urfa pepper. I love coriander’s slight lemony flavor and thought it would pair well with a warming kick of cinnamon and the raisiny, jammy notes of Urfa pepper.

Urfa pepper, also known as Isot pepper, comes from Turkey, where it is picked at peak ripeness, dried in the sun during the day, and wrapped tightly and sweated during the warm nights, achieving Urfa’s signature moist, dark, smoky raisin flavor. With a mild spice that heats up as you eat more, Urfa is a very special spice, and I’ve been sprinkling it on almost everything. 

If you try this dish, be sure that you don’t skimp on the garnishes of pomegranate seeds and Urfa pepper. The pomegranate seeds add the perfect fruity pop that meshes well with the smoky jamminess of the Urfa pepper and the citrusy, almost floral notes from the toasted coriander.

Spiced Carrots and Chickpeas

1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds, or to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 to 1/3 cup dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
5 medium to large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, such as Ceylon or Korinjte
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 can chickpeas, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
Pomegranate seeds, to garnish
Urfa pepper, to garnish

1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Dry toast the coriander seeds, shaking pan frequently so they don’t burn, until the seeds just start to brown and are fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Add oil and cook the seeds 1 minute more. Add onion, stir, and cook until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and a few splashes of the wine, to deglaze any bits stuck to the pan. Cook a few minutes more.

3. Add the carrots, cinnamon, and butter, stirring to coat. Cook about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. The carrots will still have a bit of crunch.

4. Add the chickpeas and the remaining wine, stir, and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the carrots are soft but not mushy and the chickpeas warmed through. Add salt and pepper to taste, and adjust seasonings as you wish. Serve over rice, garnished with pomegranate seeds and a generous sprinkling of Urfa pepper.

Yield: about 4 servings


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