28. March 2016 · Comments Off on Chickpea and Kale Stew – Making the Best of a Bad Vegetable · Categories: Cooking, Food · Tags: , ,

Kale-I really am down on curly kale. Compared to its flat-leaf sibling, the crinkly stuff is much more fibrous and difficult to make appealing. And to be honest, kale is overrated. The juicer crowd latched onto it as a super-food, and now you can’t get away from the stuff. Which makes no sense, given that many more appealing greens and veggies in the brassica family have similar nutritional profiles.

However, there are a precious few preparations that I actually like. One of my favorites is this dish stewed with greens and chickpeas. It started out as a variation on a Spanish espinacas con garbanzos with smoked paprika, bacon/ham lardons, and loads of onion. Where I landed was a vegetarian version that slants more toward Indian flavors. The only real drawback is the cooking time, but it’s something you can just put on to simmer and leave to its own devices while you do other stuff.

Vegetarian Kale and Chickpea Stew with Indian Spices

Prep time: About 10 minutes.
Cook time: 60 minutes.

What you need:

8 oz. curly kale, rinsed, extra stem removed, and coarsely chopped
2 15½ oz. cans of chickpeas (organic is nice), drained and rinsed
1 14½ oz. can of diced tomatoes with juice
32 oz. low-sodium vegetable broth
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp whole cumin seed
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp minced garlic
½ tsp kosher salt (plus extra for seasoning)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, or red wine vinegar
Fresh coriander (cilantro) or flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped (1-2 tbsp, to taste)

What you do:

In a large pot or dutch oven (5-6 quart), heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering on the surface. Add cumin seed, ground coriander, and turmeric. Bloom the spices in the oil until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Add garlic, saute for about a minute.

Add chopped kale and salt. Toss with hot oil and spices until bright green, about 2-3 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, and chickpeas, stir, increase heat and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook for a minimum of 45 minutes. Stir occasionally. Just before serving, stir in lemon juice or vinegar, cilantro or parsley, and season with salt to taste.

Optional: for some heat, add ½ tsp of red pepper flake or ¼ tsp of ground cayenne.