Monday, August 19, 2013

Meatless Monday #1: Chickpea casserole

There wasn't any special thought behind my choice of the first Meatless Monday dish. I looked in my cupboard and saw two cans of chickpeas I didn't know what to do with, and then did a quick search to see if I could find a recipe for them. This was the first one to pop up and looking through the recipe, I realized I basically had everything it called for already, so I decided to go for it. I did, however, lack the parsley and the yogurt. I opted for skipping the parsley and substituting the yogurt with low fat sour cream. 
The shallots turned into a red onion, the Parmesan is hiding and the two garlic cloves turned into three. 
The prep work was easy and fast. I used a slow cooking brown rice, so I had more than enough time to finish up everything else while waiting the 45 minutes it took the rice to finish.
Prep, mixing, the Parmesan came out of hiding and the casserole is ready for the oven. 
Reading the comments on the recipe, I knew beforehand that the dish has a tendency of being a little dry. I decided to follow the recipe this first time, and then find ways to tweak it to my liking later. I baked it on 175 Celcius (350 Fahrenheit) for 40 minutes. I then turned it up to 210 Celcius and put on the grill for a couple of minutes in order to get a crispier topping.
Trying to find a way to shot both topping and the casserole itself. 
It did turn out a little dry and the onions were a little under cooked. The topping was also not as crisp as I would have liked it. The next time I will sauté the garlic and onion lightly before mixing it with the chickpeas. I will also add 1/2 cup water, stock or white wine (depending on what I have on hand). To make the topping crispier, I will mix the bread crumbs and the Parmesan with an egg. Still we really enjoyed the taste of the dish and will try it again later.

Not only was this my first vegetarian meal (ok, not strictly vegetarian since the Parmesan probably was made with animal rennet), it was also the first time I've photographed my cooking. I have a lot to learn and I think I need a better light source for photography in my kitchen. 

PS. We had a lot of leftovers which we ate the next day. I decided to heat it in a pan together with more water and some sour cream. With all the breadcrumbs the consistency was something between porridge and stew. I think I will try to make a chickpea stew at some point. 

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