There are a lot of things that have happened lately, aren’t there? There are. Too many. It’s surprising. It’s ridiculous. And all I can think about is how lotus flowers grow from mud; and how, sometimes things get worse before they get better; and how, in order to locate a problem, the problem first has to make itself known. I wonder if that is what is happening these days.
An oak tree and a rosebush grew,
Young and green together.
Talking the talk of growing things-
Wind and water and weather.
And while the rosebush sweetly bloomed
The oak tree grew so high
That now it spoke of newer things-
Eagles, mountain peaks and sky.
“I guess you think you’re pretty great,”
The rose was heard to cry,
Screaming as loud as it possibly could
To the treetop in the sky.
“And you have no time for flower talk,
Now that you’ve grown so tall.”
“It’s not so much that I’ve grown,” said the tree,
“It’s just that you’ve stayed so small.”
I suppose we all evolve at different paces within the confines of our own capacities.
In the meantime, here is some stew, nesting in rich, smoky, red guajillo chili broth. Smashed chickpeas and ground chicken (or pork) are seasoned with two kinds of paprika and thyme, and spliced by ribbons of thinly sliced carrots and yukon gold rounds. It can cure nothing, but it might help warm those of us feeling cold right now, for a moment.
One Year: Slow-Cooker Pulled Chicken West African Peanut Stew
Two Years: A Guide to Perfect Biscuits and Scones
Three Years: Cherry Almond Granola
Four Years: Baby Banana-Cardamom Pancakes
Smashed Chickpea Guajillo Stew
Makes 8-10 servings
3 dried guajillo chilis
2 cups boiling water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb ground chicken or pork
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 yellow onion
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed, and gently smashed with a fork
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne
4 cups vegetable stock
2 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly via mandoline
2 large yukon gold potatoes, washed and sliced thinly via mandoline
splash of apple cider vinegar
sliced green onions, for serving
Break off stems from guajillo chilis and remove seeds, then place in a large bowl. Cover with boiling water and let sit for 30 minutes. Use a hand blender to blend until smooth. Set aside. Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add ground meat of choice, along with salt and pepper, breaking apart with spoon. Allow meat to brown, breaking apart and stirring occasionally, before adding onions and bell pepper. When onions and bell pepper are tender, stir in smashed chickpeas. Add tomato paste, paprika, smoked paprika, thyme, cumin, and cayenne, stirring to coat the mixture evenly. Pour in guajillo liquid and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add thinly sliced carrots and potatoes, simmering until they are cooked through. Pour in splash of apple cider vinegar, then season to taste with additional sea salt and black pepper. Sprinkle with green onions, and serve. Stew should be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated, and will last up to 3-4 days.