A simple plate from the sun

Posted on: 6th February, 2018

Category: A Flavour of West Cork

Contributor: Karen Austin

We sneaked away at the beginning of January to the Canary Islands flying from Cork to Gran Canaria in search of a little sun-snack.

Gran Canaria isn’t the most beautiful of the islands but Las Palmas, the capital city, is the ninth largest city in Spain and there’s plenty going on there. It also has a beach and I have a thing about cities with beaches, as they offer my favourite holiday occupations, sea, sand and eating.

We stayed in La Vegueta, the old part of the city where we could walk out and explore the warren of streets that led to plazas and beautiful old buildings. The city has been there for a long time, Christopher Columbus anchored there for a while and both Francis Drake and the Dutch tried to plunder the town and although there was damage neither were successful and old town is quite beautiful

It’s possible to gorge on both culture and tapas in this city as the streets are home to plenty of independently run restaurants and bars with modern Spanish menus. The dining spills out onto the streets and plazas and even in January it’s possible to sit out. We enjoyed many good meals and equally good wine.

I returned home somewhat obsessed with a dish of chickpeas and mushrooms that we were served in a little restaurant called Elsanto.

First of all I love beans and chickpeas so I am easily seduced but this combo had an amazing depth of flavour for such simple ingredients.

This month’s recipe is my take on this dish. I spent some time googling to find the ultimate recipe and this is what I came up with. It’s not quite the same as the one that I ate in Las Palmas – I should have quizzed the chef – maybe I’ll have to go back!

Meanwhile this is a very tasty and nutritious plate of food – just the thing to keep you going in February. I cooked the chickpeas from scratch but if you prefer, use two cans of chickpeas and substitute the chickpea cooking liquid with water or vegetable stock.

Garbanzos y Setas

Chickpeas and Mushrooms

Ingredients:

• 300g chickpeas – soaked in cold water overnight

• 400g mushrooms – I used a mix

• 15g dry porcini

• 1 large onion

• 1 stem celery

• 1 small aubergine

• about 200mls milk or almond/oat milk

• 1 clove garlic

• 250ml reserved chickpea stock

• 150mls olive oil

• salt and pepper

• parsley

Method:

Soak the chickpeas in cold water overnight

Drain the chickpeas, put them in a saucepan and cover with plenty of water. Bring to the boil then cook until they are tender. This can take between 40minutes and an hour and half depending on the age of your chickpea. Drain the chickpeas and reserve the cooking liquor.

Put the porcini into a small bowl and cover with boiling water.

Wash the aubergine, cut into 1cm slices then into a 1cm dice. Put the chopped aubergine into a bowl and cover with a little milk. Use plant milk – almond, oat etc. if you want the dish to be vegan.

Peel the onion and chop it finely.

Heat a large frying pan/skillet, put enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan then add the onions. When the onions begin to sizzle turn the heat to medium. Cut the celery into four pieces lengthwise then dice finely. Add to the pan. Season with a little salt. Let the onion and celery cook gently until softened stir in the chopped garlic then lift the aubergine from the milk and add to the pan. Stir the aubergine in then continue cooking until the aubergine breaks down. Don’t allow the mix to brown. Drain the porcini, keep the soaking liquid, and chop the porcini. Stir into the pan and cook for a few minutes.

Add the cooked chickpeas, the porcini soaking liquid and about 200mls reserved chickpea liquid. Season with some salt. Bring to the boil then simmer gently for 15 minutes, adding more reserved chickpea liquid as needed. The dish should be wet but not drowning. Chop the parsley and stir in

Chop the fresh mushrooms and fry in a little olive oil until they begin to brown. Season with salt and cracked black pepper.

Serve the chickpeas in bowls with the mushrooms piled on top.

The cooking classes are in full swing. There are still spaces on The S.E Asian class in March with plenty of recipes to titillate your palate.

Enjoy,

Karen

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