Smoky Chick Pea Collard Stew

by R.B. Quinn and Min Merrell

Smoky chick peas collard stew is an easy meatless meal you can make in the crock-pot.  You won’t get this healthy simple stew at the Cheesecake Factory.

 People who like vegetables are lucky.  In this age of obesity and obesity-related diseases like diabetes and heart disease, you get a real leg up if turnip greens, pinto beans, and brown rice sound like a fine meal.  I wonder if Michael Pollen has ever had a weight problem.  Think how hard that is for a young person to comprehend today, not just because of the McDonald’s effect, but also because of the over-the-top portions and theater atmosphere of places like the Cheesecake Factory.

What is normal home cooking anymore?  Are we influenced by our families anymore or just the corporate chefs at TGIFridays?  I’m afraid of the answer.  What about the other side of dining — vegan, local, and less meat?  Most of us are probably somewhere in the middle, trying to maintain moderation.

A great place to find your middle is by incorporating a simple, cheap, meatless meal that you actually like into your supper rotation.  Beans and greens in the crock-pot is a perfect starting point.  It’s make-ahead and costs less than 10 bucks to feed the whole family.  And notice that the smoke in this recipe is not from our usual old friend liquid smoke, but from Spanish smoked paprika.  It’s the foodie-approved smoke source.  And yet again, we can’t get enough earthy cumin.  Sure you can use chicken broth for the water or flavor the stew with a little fatback or a ham hock.  Good news is that you don’t have to.

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