I know, a recipe called chickpeas and kale is the kind of thing you will only click on in the depths of January guilt. It sounds bland, and unnecessarily wholesome. But bear with me. I had seen the recipe for chickpeas and spinach in the Moro cookbook dozens of times while leafing through it. And I had ignored it. Every single time. It sounded boring, it didn’t involve cheese or tahini and I worked off the logic that there were so many amazing recipes in there, there also had to be some duds. I was wrong. Every recipe Sam and Sam Clarke turn out is consistently wonderful, and often deceptively simple. When this recipe appeared on Food52’s Genius Recipes column, and again on Smitten Kitchen, my interest was finally piqued.
I’m trying to get back into the swing of cooking quick and easy work meals after a long Christmas break, and this recipe fit the bill. I adapted it extensively from the original, using a different spice combination, white wine vinegar instead of red, kale instead of spinach and added some tomato sauce (inspired by Smitten Kitchen). It’s easy, wholesome and inexpensive to make, which is perfect for January cooking. You can prepare the bread paste in the advance and keep it in the fridge, so the whole thing can be assembled in about ten minutes. When I first cooked this it was at the end of a twelve hour working day which had been followed by a cheeky pint. Every route to my house from work involves passing at least one chipper so I felt like I should get a medal for cooking this at 9:30pm.
I can’t properly articulate why this recipe is so good, because I can’t wrap my head around it. It’s some magical alchemy involved in the combination of the sharp vinegar, rich breadcrumbs, earthy chickpeas, mineral kale and the, well, garlicky garlic. This is a recipe I can see myself making again and again.
Makes two generous main course portions.
- 75g slice of bread, torn into small cubes
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon mild chili flakes, like aleppo chili.
- 1 1/2 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
- 200g kale washed, with the spines removed and leaves torn into small pieces
- 2 x 400g tins of chickpeas, drained
- 2 tablespoons ,of any basic tomato sauce, passata, or 2 teaspoons tomato puree mixed with two tablespoons of water
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Olive oil
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
- Add the bread cubes and fry until golden, turning frequently.
- Add the garlic Herbes de Provence and spices and cook for one minute more, stirring frequently.
- Remove from the heat, and blend in a pestle and mortar, or with a stick blender together with one tablespoon vinegar to form a paste.
- Wilt the kale in batches in a hot frying pan with a little bit of water to prevent burning and a sprinkling of salt, then leave aside.
- Add the bread paste to a frying pan together with the chickpeas and tomato sauce and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat to combine well.
- Add the wilted kale and cook for a few minutes until heated through and well combined.
- Top with smoked paprika and serve warm.