Monday, August 22, 2011

Braised Winter Greens with Chickpeas

I have been trying to experiment even more with food lately, because I got to thinking the other day...My boyfriend got me a cookbook with 1,000 recipes in it.  Even if I made something EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. it would take me almost three years to make it through the cookbook!  I then started thinking there really aren't that many meals in a year (365 dinners doesn't really sound like THAT much) and each one is an opportunity to eat something new, tasty, and delicious.

With that running through my head, I wanted to try a new vegetable but I also didn't want anything too extravagant to make because I am trying to save up some money for new clothes.  I settled on "Braised Winter Greens with Chickpeas, Onions and Garlic" from Orangette.

The recipe is clearly spelled out on the website, so I'll just take you through what I made...

I settled on kale as my winter green of choice and bought one and a half pounds of it at the grocery store.  In fact, I bought it about two weeks ago and it was still in decent condition -- kale lasts a very long time in the fridge!

I separated the kale leaves from the ribs by running my knife along the inseam of each piece.  After that, I rinsed the kale and left it in a colander to dry a bit.  The recipe says you actually want a bit of water to stick to the leaves, so don't worry about drying it too much.  Then, lay the leaves on top of each other, a few at a time, and slice them into quarter inch pieces.  I didn't worry about precision too much here.  Just cut it up however you prefer.

Next it was time to dice an onion.  I used yellow, as that is my go-to onion (and usually the cheapest at the store).  The recipe calls for half an onion minced, but I used the whole thing and left bigger pieces.

I heated up three tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan (pick a big pan and it will be easier) over medium heat.  Once it was sizzling, I added the onion and a teaspoon of minced garlic.  The recipe says to saute for 10 minutes...Around five minutes I realized mine was BURNING so I would recommend lowering your temperature significantly.

I was really bummed I burned the onions and garlic, and I got distracted and left it to sit for a bit.  When I came back, I tasted it to see how burnt it was and WOW! It was fantastic.  The garlic and onion had carmelized and was soooo delicious.  I am sad to say I ended up eating ALL of the onion and garlic prior to cooking the kale :) Whoops.

Once the onion and garlic was devoured, I drained a can of chickpeas and added it to a new pot of sizzlin' olive oil (obviously if you didn't eat your food prematurely, add the chickpeas to your oil/garlic/onion mixture). I then added the kale in bits and pieces.  It doesn't shrink like normal lettuce does, which is why I think it is important to use a big frying pan.  However, it does lose a little of it's bulk, so you can add it in chunks and let it settle before you add more.  The recipe says to season with salt, but I didn't add any.

Then, lower the heat (I went all the way to low) and cover, cooking for fifteen minutes.  I stirred my occasionally. After that, remove from heat and add 1 and a half teaspoons of lemon juice.  I went a bit overboard and used an ENTIRE lemon, but I love lemon juice and I think the tangy taste is what made it so good.

I don't know what it was about this dish, but I found it seriously tasty.  I made four servings and they are all gone now!  I think it got better after sitting for about six hours because the leaves soaked up my lemon juice and had a nice tang to them.

Whether you try this out or not, hopefully this can be inspiration to try out a new vegetable or food at the super market.  I have never tried kale before and it was great -- it cooks much better than spinach or other lettuces because it doesn't get all wilty and limp.  It retained its shape but still had that great earthy flavor.  Mmmmmmm.


Lauren said...

I've only had kale once and my reaction was "hmmm." I haven't tried it like this, though! I'll have to keep this recipe in mind for those cold days when kale is all there is at the farmers' market.

Anonymous said...