Monday, April 12, 2010
Chickpea and Kale Stew
I love kale. Love it. Maybe it’s weird to be so attached to a vegetable, but I’m okay with it. Oddly enough, I’d never tried kale before moving to Nashville a couple of years ago. I’m sure they sell it at grocery stores in Ohio, but I never noticed it. I’ve never seen it on restaurant menus there either. Here in Nashville, however, kale is everywhere. It’s at every grocery store and farmers market and on restaurant menus all over town. It’s also in my kitchen almost every week.
I really just can’t get enough of the stuff. Besides being incredibly good for you, kale has great texture and doesn’t wilt away to nothing when it’s cooked. That makes it great for adding to soups and stews. In this recipe, kale is combined with chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, and garlic to make a hearty vegetarian stew. A few savory herbs and spices are added in to give layers of flavor to the otherwise simple dish.
I served this stew in a bowl with some bread alongside for dipping. It would also be delicious ladled over brown rice, couscous, or bulgur. To jazz it up a little, you can top the stew with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a dollop of garlicky aioli, or some crumbled feta cheese.
Chickpea and Kale Stew
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
**Note: The original recipe was called Chickpea and Spinach Stew
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pinches red pepper flakes
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. dried rosemary
14 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 15 oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 large bunch kale, cut into ribbons or small bite-sized pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Optional Garnish: extra virgin olive oil, aioli, or feta cheese (my favorite)
In a large pot or skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, paprika, and rosemary. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium if the onions start to brown.
Add the diced tomatoes and chickpeas. Stir to combine.
Add the kale and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer until the kale wilts down, stirring occasionally. (This should only take only take 5 to 7 minutes. You don’t want to cook the kale until it is mushy – it should still have plenty of body and texture.)
Serve the stew hot, garnished with one of the optional toppings if desired.