Chickpea & Kale Stew

According to Chinese Medicine, insomnia and low self-esteem are both partly caused by weak blood (go figure). The traditional remedy is to drink/eat some blood…uh, no thanks. How about nourishing the blood with a warm filling stew instead? This one has hearty chickpeas for protein, tahini for iron and kale for, well, everything!

This might not be the meal to make if you’ve gotta get dinner on the table in a hurry – though with the shortcuts below we can get it down to less than an hour. But if you have the time, and especially if you’re going for that super nourishing thing, cooking the chickpeas from scratch is really worth it. Not only are they way cheaper, but they taste so much better, and the cooking liqueur acts as a vegetable stock and flavors the whole pot. If you don’t have time to wait though, you can use canned. Just start with cooking the onions, spices and garlic right in the soup pot, then add stock and the potatoes. When the taters are almost done add the drained and rinsed chickpeas to the pot with the kale. Speaking of kale, I really love lacinato in this. It’s not a requirement, but be aware if you use regular kale that it will take a bit longer to soften in the pot.

Chickpea & Kale Stew

2/3 c. dried chickpeas, soaked for at least an hour (to use canned, see the note above)
1-2 lbs. small potatoes, cut in big cubes
1 T. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. sea salt
2 T. tahini
1 small bunch kale, finely chopped
1/4 c. toasted pine nuts

Drain chickpeas from their soaking liquid and place in a large soup pot with 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down, cover and simmer for about an hour. Keep in mind the cooking times for beans is approximate, depending on the age of your beans.

After an hour your chickpeas should be starting to soften (if it happens earlier, then don’t wait the whole hour). Don’t wait until they are completely cooked because they still have another 1/2 hour to go. Add the potatoes, make sure the stew comes back up to a simmer, and keep cooking for another 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fairly soft, but not totally done.

After 10-20 minutes of the potato cooking, heat the olive oil in a separate skillet over medium low. Add the onions and spices and cook until the onion is soft, 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and salt and stir, giving the whole thing another minute or so. Scoop out about a 1/4 c. of the cooking liquid from the pot into another container. Whisk (I used a fork) the tahini into the liquid until it has dissolved. Pour it back into the pot.

Add the onion mixture to the soup pot. Be aware that beans get tough and take more time to cook if there is salt in the cooking liquid, so only add this when the chickpeas are mostly tender. Also stir in the kale at this time.

Let the whole thing cook for another 5-10 minutes. It is done when the chickpeas, potatoes and kale are all tender to the bite. Serve topped with the toasted pine nuts.

serves 4.

7 Responses to “Chickpea & Kale Stew”

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  1. I’m having a sick day, but not too sick to make this stew- it seems just right and I think I’ve got most of the ingredients on hand.

  2. Kate says:

    Some version or another of this dish is often passing through my kitchen between now and…… Spring. It’s so simple, yet it fills you in many ways that aren’t all food related. I love sweet potatoes in this too; the darker flesh variety, and a small dab of chipotle en adobo for a slight kick and warming taste. After I’m home from our vacation, I think this will have to be on the menu.

  3. Kelsey says:

    Oh my, YUM. This would be perfect for my constitution. My acupuncturist is always telling me I need to work on tonifying my blood (weak liver chi), I like this as an alternative to hoards of red meat. Thanks for sharing, lovely.

  4. Holli says:

    This sounds amazing!
    What would you recommend for a potato substitute? (I can’t have potatoes or yams – high Glycemic Index).


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