Jacques Pepin’s Chickpea Ragout — Dave’s way

This is my version of Jacques Pepin’s Chickpea Ragout and, though his version is really, really good, my kids like my version better. I’m a big fan of one-pot “dump” meals, where a bunch of “stuff”, for lack of a better word, is taken, thrown into a single pot and cooked — this recipe is a great example of that.

So here’s the recipe:

Olive oil

About half an onion, diced

3 or 4 scallions, chopped

1-3 cloves chopped garlic

2 cups tomato, chopped or a can of diced tomato

1 16-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 cups of Chicken Stock

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 cup brown rice

2-3 cups loose, fresh spinach, chopped

optional:

6oz Turkey Kielbasa

1/2 Chicken breast

In a largish sauce pan, (I use a deep saute pan), toss a few tablespoons of the olive oil in the pan and saute the onions. Let ’em cook for a minute or so and add the garlic and scallions. Let those cook for a few minutes and add the tomatoes, chickpeas a few shakes of pepper (I like to add salt after everything’s cooked) and one cup of the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat immediately and allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes. Usually though, I’ll let it go for a half hour or more to let the chicken stock reduce and become more intense in flavor. Add the rest of the chicken stock and the rice, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and let cook for 50 minutes or so. Remove from heat, add the spinach, stir into mixture and allow to set for a few minutes. Give it another stir, serve and enjoy!

Again, that’s my basic recipe and what I’ll do if I’m not serving it to the kids — they love the Kielbasa and Chicken breast. If you’re using chicken, brown it in the saucepan or saute pan first, before the onion. Set aside when done, cook the onions and continue on with the recipe. Chop up the chicken (and Kielbasa if you like), and add it with the rice and 2 cups of chicken stock, submerging both into the liquid. You’ll find that the flavor of the Kielbasa cooks into the rice and throughout the dish, adding a wonderful flavor. Then again, it is a processed meat….but it tastes so darn good, even better with some good hot sauce!

Enjoy!

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