Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hungry Man Brunch: Beef and Garbanzo Beans with Bell Peppers

I sent Eric to the store with a list of ingredients, which is always a risky undertaking. I'd planned to make a roast, but he brought back two steaks. Change of plans.

It hasn't been a good week for cooking. Some weeks are just more tiring than others, and on these weeks I end up making dishes that require no thought or preparation, like baked potatoes with butter and hummus. To atone for my sins, I wanted to make Eric something hearty and healthy for when he returned from the cold.

Unfortunately I couldn't decide which hearty meal to make. In the beginning of the cooking process, I planned to make a Middle-Eastern dish with beef, garbanzo beans, tomato sauce, and cumin. Then I realized that I wasn't in the mood for tomato sauce, and there's a debate on whether you should use acidic foods like tomatoes in cast iron pans anyway. I've done it before and nothing blew up, but I'm still a little wary about it. Then I remembered that I had organic green peppers in my fridge that desperately needed to be eaten, and that was good enough of an addition for me.

I've been trying to use my cast iron pans more. Beef cooked in a cast iron pan has more flavor, in my opinion, than cooked in a teflon pan. Plus I wanted a hearty meal, which cast iron is perfect for. It also cooks more evenly, which makes it a great asset for gluten-free cooking. I also read that cast iron pans are good for getting more iron in your diet (see the Tilth section on cooking supplies, scroll down for cast iron skillets).

Hungry Man Brunch: Beef and Garbanzo Beans with Bell Peppers

a little olive oil
2 lbs. beef chuck (cut into cubes, fat mostly removed)
1 can garbanzo beans (drained & rinsed)
2 bell peppers (chopped)
1 onion (chopped)

Brown the beef in a cast iron pan in batches. Set aside, draining any beef juices. Saute the onions in the beef juices until browned and translucent. Add garbanzo beans and stir together. Let it cook for another couple of minutes, then add the beef. Stir it all together, then add about a 1/4 inch of water and cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 1/2 hour to an hour, depending on how patient you are. The longer it simmers, the more tender the meat will be. Sometimes I add more water and let it cook for several hours over low heat. It is mushier that way, though, but it goes nicely over rice or noodles that way.

In a separate pan, saute the bell peppers in a little olive oil until just slightly browned. Set aside.

The nice part about this dish is that no flour is needed to make it thick. The garbanzo beans are starchy enough that they do the job nicely. If you want a sauce, just add more water.

When the water has been reduced and the mixture has thickened, stir in the bell peppers and cook for another few minutes.

Serve to hungry husband. 

For some reason, Jor-El is always by my side in the kitchen.

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