23 February 2012

Veal Stew with Chorizo and Chickpeas with Bay Leaf Rice


I thought graduating from flipping pages made of paper to flipping digital pages was stepping forward and coming to terms with modernity.   I even dove deeper when I rummaged through the virtual selection of books and started buying.   I cannot negate its convenience and accessibility.  The world is literally at my fingertips.   With a credit card or bank account connecting the umbilical cord between me and the mothership of consumerism. 


When I bought some paper cookbooks the other day, the touch of the paper in between my fingers gave me an odd sensation of familiarity.  I got scared for a minute because I had already forgotten how it felt like and would even forget it more now that my Ipad's library is increasing.  And the smell of new books drove out so many forgotten feelings.  I loved books, good old-fashioned books.  No, don't make that in past tense.  I still love them.  

And I wish I can read the long queue of books on my bedside bookshelf.   If only I have 50 hours a day instead of 24 to make everything I want to do fit in one day. 


My husband and I are both book lovers.  One of our wishes before starting a family was to have children who would love books too.  We were able to fill up our kids' bookshelves with books from some of our travels.  Whenever I travel, my black hole is a bookstore.  To browse through books is just pure joy.  Leave me there in the morning and I will still be there in the afternoon, oblivious to time.  Perhaps this feeling is a result of having a limited number of English bookstores in Rome and even worse, having just a bookshelf in each store to choose from.

I take home food as souvenirs from my travels but for my kids, I cannot resist taking home books that I hope they would enjoy reading one day.  This obsession started when I finally came face to face with the first children's book I had been honing on for months some years ago. I was finally in a bookstore in South Africa, holding Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folk Tales.  I spent a lot of my free time in the book stores there that I was able to amass more than the amount we could handle (to the dismay of my husband.)  


Soon our kids will start reading the books we had lovingly hand-carried home with bursting luggage weighing like tons of bricks.   The time will arrive and I can't wait.

The Horace Mann in me repeats that "A house without books is like a house without windows.  No man has a right to bring up his children without surrounding them with books, if he has the means to buy them."


This veal stew tastes like home.   Its familiarity reels me back to the first home I ever knew and filled up with books.  My parents' house.   

I was not able to get my Mom's recipe book when she passed away.  Not even my sister nor anyone in the family.  No one thought of asking for the recipes of her special dishes.  They just disappeared with her too. 

She used to do a very good meat stew with chorizo and chickpeas that I loved so much.  This is the closest I can get and I felt the click of familiarity when I had my first taste.   

Thank you Jean of Lemons & Anchovies for rekindling my memory about Philippine meat stews.  Here's her delicious spicy pork stew post.  

I hope you enjoy it.  



Veal Stew with Chorizo and Chickpeas with Bay Leaf Rice

Ingredients:
Serves 4

  • 1/2 kilo veal, diced
  • 3 potatoes, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 250 g. chickpeas (I used canned.)
  • 250 g. grilled capsicum (I used bottled.)
  • 150 g. chorizo, chopped
  • 450 g. canned tomatoes
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 5 bay leaves
  • salt & pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon mild paprika
  • 2 cups basmati rice

  1. Rub meat with paprika, salt & pepper.   Leave for 15 minutes.
  2. Warm up saucepan with extra virgin olive oil.  When it's hot, add onion and chorizo.  
  3. When the chorizo gets toasted and its oil runs out, add the meat. Toss until meat turn brownish. 
  4. Add canned tomatoes with a little water (about 1/4 cup to swirl in the emptied can).  Let it boil.
  5. When in boils, add carrots, potatoes and 4 bay leaves.  Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Meantime, prepare the rice.  Rinse under tap, toss rice with your hands and drain about 3 times or until the starch has been washed away.  This is when the water becomes clear. 
  7. Put drained rice in a thick cooking pot.  Add 4 cups of water.  Boil.  When it boils, put down the flame at the lowest, add a pinch of salt & a bay leaf torn in two.  Cover and leave to cook undisturbed for about 17 minutes or until rice has cooked through.   Discard bay leaf before serving. 
  8. About 30 minutes before cooking time of the veal stew, add grilled capsicum and chickpeas.  Add more water if sauce is drying up.   Season with salt & pepper.  
  9. Serve with steamed white rice. 







6 comments:

  1. Being a book-lover myself, I know what you mean. Alas, time is not on my side, either, and I only get to read a few pages when I'm on a bus or train.
    Your stew sounds delicious and it is just right for the weather we are having here. Really liking how you mix potatoes with rice, here. :)

    Cheers,
    Tobias

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    1. I miss taking long train rides with a good book as company. It's the best way to relax and disappear from reality. The stew came out very well and I'm happy about it. The chorizo and grilled capsicum gave it a big boost. It's been sunny here lately and I hope the beautiful, springlike weather will stay. Germany is always a few degrees colder than Italy. Hope you find some sun too. Ciao!

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  2. Hi Weng! Your stew looks wonderful and the fresh bay leaves are lovely! I've never cooked with fresh bay leaves, always dried. Beautiful job as usual!

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    1. One of the easiest plants to maintain is bay plant. It's quite independent and is quite strong. Try getting one and you'll see how wonderful the fresh leaves are in cooking. The fragrance is too wonderful to describe when cooking. Thanks as always Tessa! You always give me a good cheer when you pass by.

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  3. Rowena, how I enjoyed reading your post. I have always loved books, too, and I felt so lucky to have married someone who enjoys reading as much as I do. Our home can never have too much books despite the fact that a new one seems to arrive in the mail every week. And bookstores? I would happily spend all day in one. I feel your disappointment in having limited access to English books. If you ever have difficulty obtaining one, just let me know and I will happily send to you.

    Thanks for the mention on my pork stew--your version has me craving a nice big bowl with lots and lots of rice. Love your towels and cups in the post, too. :)

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    1. I'm glad to know other people who love books too. One thing that makes me happy is seeing people so immersed in their books inside the bookshops. I will keep your offer in mind. Thank you for being so thoughtful.

      I don't need to taste your pork stew to understand that it's delicious. Thanks Jean!

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I would love to read what you think!