Monday, January 21, 2008

Amazing, scrumptious, sensuous, delicious -- have I convinced you yet?

The Huz's doctor recently recommended that he try to get more fiber in his diet. Now, we pretty much eat only whole wheat pasta and whole grain breads (and, incidentally, avoid high fructose corn syrup which is a whole 'nother rant) and I've been trying the new white whole wheat flour from King Arthur flour in some of my baking, too. We're fairly conscious of what we eat without being fanatics about it. But the Huz has always had stomach issues, so his doc wants to try a diet change before going to stronger meds. And we're all good widdat!

So I've been making granola and bran muffins, and we picked up some fruit for snacks today, and we've always done fairly well with veggies except on pizza nights, so we're on our way to a fiber-licious diet.

Everybody knows that legumes are an excellent source of fiber. What you may not know is that they're packed with minerals, and their skins contain flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants. Researchers are even suggesting saving the water you soak dried beans in and using it in soup, because soaking leaches the flavonoids out of the skins but doesn't destroy them.

OK, you may have noticed that we're three paragraphs into the post and I haven't mentioned what the recipe is yet. That's because I know as soon as I say the name of it I'm going to lose some of you. But here's where I advise you NOT TO STOP READING ONCE YOU SEE THE TITLE. Because this recipe is so amazingly tasty, even if you don't like the ingredients separately, I really, really recommend that you just try it once. The combination of ordinary ingredients somehow lifts everything to the level of sublime. It is scrumptious, amazing, sensuous, delicious, [your adjective goes here]. Seriously. Would I lie to you?

AND you can use canned beans, and do a lot of the prep ahead of time (not that it takes a lot of prep) so the recipe can come together pretty much at the last minute, making it ideal for a weeknight meal or a meal with friends. Please try it and let me know how you liked it!

Roasted garbanzo beans and garlic with swiss chard

From Bon Appetit, with my comments added

Garbanzo beans

2 15.5 ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained (about 3 cups)
10 garlic cloves, peeled (this is part of why it's so yummy; I'm going to use more next time)
2 large shallots, quartered (I used onions and thought it was great)
2 small bay leaves, preferably fresh
1 tsp fennel seeds (didn't have this, omitted it without apparent harm to the results)
salt and pepper to taste
1¼ cups extra virgin olive oil (don't let this scare you, it doesn't all end up in the dish)


2 T extra virgin olive oil (can use some from the beans)
6 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
3 small bay leaves, preferably fresh
2 shallots, sliced (I used some chopped scallions & onions, worked fine)
2 bunches Swiss chard, center stems cut out, leaves coarsely torn (save the stems for baking with butter & parmesan cheese, also a winning recipe that I'll try to post later)
2 c low-salt chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine first 5 ingredients (through fennel seeds) in 8 x 8 x 2 glass baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour oil over; cover dish with foil. Roast until garlic is tender (important! taste it. If it still has any bite to it, roast it some more. It should be sweet and mild), about 45 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and chill.)

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, bay leaves, and shallots. Cover; cook until shallots are tender, about 2 minutes. Uncover; add half of chard. Toss until chard wilts and volume is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add remaining chard. Toss until chard wilts, about 2 minutes. Add broth. Cover and cook until chard is tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season chard with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to a large sieve set over bowl and drain. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Drain garbanzos, reserving oil; discard bay leaves. Combine garbanzos and chard in large skillet. Add 2 T oil reserved from garbanzos. Toss over medium heat until warmed through, moistening with more oil by tablespoonfuls if needed, about 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper, remove bay leaves, and serve.

This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this weekend at Anna's Cool Finds. If you have a recipe for a yummy dish that has herbs, veggies, flowers, or other plants, then it qualifies for Weekend Herb Blogging, and you might want to send annalou (at) ix (dot) netcom (dot) com an email about your post. Or maybe you're just interested in creative delicious food that also delivers a vitamin, mineral and fiber blast of health to your bod ... then just drop by Anna's Cool Finds this weekend to see what your fellow bloggers have dreamt up!

[1/27: the recipe for baked chard stems]


Kalyn said...

Love everything about the sound of this! And I even have fennel seeds too.

BTW, have you seen the newest cookbook by Jack Bishop (A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen.) I'm loving it as much as I loved Vegetables Every Day (which I still thank you for recommending!)

Anna Haight said...

This looks like something I'm just going to have to try myself!

Laurie Constantino said...

I don't know why you think you'd lose people at the mention of garbanzos -- or is it the greens? Either way, everyone I know loves them both. I've also been using the white whole wheat flour lately, and like it much better than red whole wheat. It's flavor is a little sweeter, and very tasty.

the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

Like Kalyn, I love everything about this. I too would leave out the fennel seeds. I taste them too intensely.

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