Despite the fact that El Niño has not arrived yet, I found myself in a winter preparatory mood (I know, I know, it's 75 degrees outside) and made chamin, the cold-weather, slow-cooked wonder my grandma used to make on Saturdays. Typically, we'd all show up, eat a fresh salad and a big plate of chamin, and then essentially collapse in a diagonal fashion and fail to move for hours. The vegan version is much lighter than the one that includes big chunks of beef and stuffed guts.
My recipe changes a bit every time I make this, but this time I decided to follow the advice of an expert and made one of Ori Shavit's recipes. I had no red quinoa, so I substituted it for red kidney beans, and included black dal and white beans as well. Here's the recipe, translated to English, with my changes and modifications:
1 cup black dal
1 cup white beans
1 cup basmati rice
1 cup kidney beans
2 russet potatoes, thickly sliced
3 sweet potatoes, thickly sliced
3 carrots, thickly sliced
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
3 prunes, chopped
3 bay leaves
5 sage leaves
blackened spice to taste (I used 1 tbsp for the whole pot)
salt to taste (I used 1 tbsp for the whole pot)
If possible, soak the beans and rice in water overnight; if not, no worries (this is a slow-cooked recipe.)
In a heavy pan, heat up a bit of olive oil and sautee the onion, garlic, bay leaves and safe leaves. After a few minutes, add the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots, and sautee for a few more minutes. Then, place and layer that whole mixture at the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker. On top of it, arrange the rice and beans in four distinct areas (each in every corner), add prune pieces, peppercorns, salt, and blackened spice, and carefully cover with boiling water. Set slow cooker to "high" for three hours. Then, add boiling water to cover again, and set slow cooker to "low"for twelve hours.
This improves when reheated, refrigerates and freezes wonderfully, in case you don't have a horde of people coming over for the weekend.