Saturday, January 14, 2012

Curried Chickpeas With Greens

I'm not sure what I've done to offend my metabolism, but lately it seems we may have permanently parted ways. If I've had even a moderate sized breakfast (and no exercise), I don't really get hungry again until 1:00 or sometimes later. And yet I don't want to blow my dinner by eating a too-filling lunch since we eat dinner pretty early 'round here. It's times like these we can be thankful for vegetarian cooking. It tends often towards the lighter side and is generally heavy on nutritious stuff like vegetables and beans.

I made this Everyday Food-inspired recipe today. Only I was out of spinach and didn't have cauliflower or fresh tomatoes (who does) and the stewed tomatoes that I thought would be a lovely substitution were not in my pantry--stacks of sauce, puree, juice, and paste sat there staring at me without one single little can or jar of diced or stewed tomatoes blinking at me from anywhere. Besides wanting to kick my already down metabolism, I also wanted to poke my eyes out. Fortunately for me, some wilty bok choy and a bit of frozen tomato puree came to the rescue and turned out a healthy, tasty, almost stew-like meal. If you and your metabolism are still on speaking terms, you can serve it over farro, barley, rice, or a grain of your choice, but I just ate mine plain and, for me, that was just right.

I do have one small confession to make: It was good with chick peas, but I thought it would have been even better with chicken.

Curried Chickpeas with Greens
Serves 4-6
Prep and cook time: 30 minutes
Cost: $4.10
(chick peas: 1.32, onion: .20, tomato sauce: 1.50, bok choy: 1.00, other stuff: .08)

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, mince
1 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
4 tsp curry powder
2 cans (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 C water
2 C tomato sauce--I used homemade (or two cans (15 oz) stewed or diced tomatoes--could be added with or without sauce, depending on how soupy you want it to be)
3 C bok choy (or other green)
1 tsp salt (and maybe a dab of Better Than Bullion if you are not a strict vegetarian)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, optional

A few notes before we begin. You can substitute any green for the bok choy (spinach, kale, chard), though you should know that something soft like spinach will need to be thrown in at the very end of cooking while something like kale, you'll want to put in earlier--probably halfway through the onion cooking time or at least with the chick peas. I'll add tips for adaptations in the instructions below.

Heat in a sauce pan while you dice your onion. Throw them in and stir them around to coat. Let them cook over medium, stirring occasionally until they're nice and golden. This will take about 10 minutes.

In the meantime, cut your bok choy. You're going to cut the thick stems off the leaves and then dice up the stems. Throw these stems in with the onions after the onions have cooked for about 5 minutes. Reserve the leaves and give them a chop. Then mince your garlic and your ginger.

When the onions are ready, add the garlic, ginger, and curry powder. Stir around until fragrant. [At this point if you're using a sturdy green like kale, you can toss it in too.] Add chickpeas, tomato sauce, and water. Bring to a gentle simmer and simmer until everything is warmed through and tender.

Stir in leaves from bok choy and cilantro if using. [At this point if using a soft green like spinach, you can toss it in.] Cook until wilted--about 2 minutes.

Add salt and/or dab of Better Than Bullion to taste. I also added a good sprinkle of black pepper and a dash of cumin just because.

Serve over grain of choice or eat it as is.


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