Sunday, April 18, 2010

Swiss Chard and Chickpeas with Taratoor and Toasted Walnuts

This all came about because I was feeling a bit jaded with the whole cooking thing - yes, this occasionally happens - but had a great, big bunch of beautiful swiss chard in the refrigerator that really needed to be cooked, tout de suite. Something vaguely middle eastern sounded good, maybe involving chickpeas, which hadn't appeared on the table in a while; I've also had a tahini jones lately, so maybe some kind of sauce...? In the event, I wound up massaging a few different recipes until we had the delicious dinner that I share with you here. As a matter of fact, it was so delicious that it was all gobbled up before we got around to taking a picture, but trust me (have I ever lied to you? Exactly). The nice thing about dishes like this is that you can easily substitute various ingredients - white beans for chickpeas, kale, collards or spinach for the chard, pine nuts for the garnish - and it will be just as good. (Also: if you don't feel like having/making the sauce, it will still be totally yummy, but come on - you know you want to!)

The Chickpeas and Chard

~ 2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 2 cups chopped yellow onion
~ 2 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, cumin
~ 1/2 tsp. each: dill, red pepper flakes
~ 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 15 oz. can, drained)
~ 1 bunch Swiss chard, washed and roughly chopped
~ 1/4 cup tomato paste
~ 1/4 cup vegetable stock or water

~ In a large, deep skillet or wok, heat the olive oil and saute the onion over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until softened and translucent.
~ Add the garlic, seasonings and tomato paste and cook about 3 minutes.
~ Raise the heat to high, add the chickpeas, and cook a few minutes more.
~ Pour in the broth or water to deglaze the pan, then add the chard in batches, stirring until each batch wilts before adding the next.
~ Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low; allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
~ Set aside to rest while you make...

The Taratoor

~ 1 cup sesame tahini
~ 1 tbsp. garlic, finely minced
~ 1/2 cup lemon juice
~ 1 tsp. salt
~ 1/2 tsp. parsley
~ 1/4 to 1/3 cup ice water
~ 1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts (for garnish)

~ Place the first 5 ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree, adding the ice water in a thin stream as it blends, until you have the consistency of a thick mayonnaise.
~ Transfer to a small saucepan and warm slowly over low heat, making sure it doesn't boil.
~ Now you can...

~ Heat up the chickpea/chard mixture, and serve on top of rice, bulgur, quinoa, or the starch of your choice.
~ Drizzle the taratoor on top (I love this stuff, so I tend to be, well...generous, but suit yourself; NB that it's also perfect on falafel), sprinkle on the toasted walnuts, and dig in.

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