Cooking goes on, and we're happy to have enough food in the pantry, the freezers, the kitchen cabinets, and the refrigerator to keep going for another week or two. I harvested a lot of kale last week, and one of the ways we ate it was a dish we've been making for 8 or 9 years now: greens with tomato paste and chickpeas. Think of it as a thick soup, or a simmered stew.
The recipe is based on a Spanish one called Espinacas con garbanzos
that blogger friends Mitch and Jerry in Spain posted and Walt found. You can make it with spinach, chard, kale, or collard greens. You can also make it as spicy hot and garlicky as you want. This time, I used tomato paste Walt made from part of our 2019 tomato crop, blanched kale leaves, garbanzo beans from a can, and some French Morteau sausage. Here's the recipe from five years ago, when I made the dish using garden-grown collard greens
. I urge you to make it — it's easy and tasty. Ten stars.
Greens with tomato paste and chickpeas
4 Tbsp. olive (or other) oil
½ lb. (225 g) smoked pork lardons, bacon, or sausage (optional)
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
6 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled, and chopped
1 green pepper, trimmed and chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
2 lbs. greens, raw or blanched, thinly sliced or shredded
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. smoked or sweet paprika
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
¾ cup (200 ml) tomato paste
water and white wine as needed or desired
1 cup bread crumbs, rice, or millet (as a thickener)
1 large can chickpeas
In a large pot, heat olive or other oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, green pepper, jalapeño, and lardons/bacon (or diced, cooked sausage). Cook until onion softens, about 4 minutes. (Leave out the meat if you don't want it.)
Add raw greens, cover, and cook until mostly wilted, about 10 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring, until completely wilted, another 5 to 10 minutes. Kale, chard, or spinach will take less time than collard greens, for example. It's also faster if you start with blanched or already cooked greens. Season to your taste with salt, black pepper, and the spices.
Add tomato paste along with some water or wine, plus the vinegar. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a medium simmer. Partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until greens are very tender. Add more liquid as needed as.
When the greens are cooked, add the cooked (or canned) chickpeas and the bread crumbs to the pan. Give the chickpeas time to get hot and the bread crumbs time to absorb any extra cooking liquid.
Serve the greens and garbanzos as a one-dish meal with bread or rice, or as a side dish with grilled meat.