Project Weeknight: Kale & Chickpeas

I tried. I really did. I was bound and determined to come up with some variation of greens and chickpeas that we would fall in love with. Last night was my third attempt and once again, it was not what I'd hoped for. Third strike = I'm out.

Well, OK, it may not be hopeless. It may just be me. Last night I thought I would be clever and combine elements from these two recipes: Chickpeas & Greens and Boiled Kale w/Fried Egg, both from Orangette. I loved her descriptions -- both recipes sounded like home runs. So why not combine them, right?

Um... well, if I was someone with a natural gift for creating recipes, maybe. But I'm not. I'm a technician at heart, not an artist, and sometimes these sorts of things can't be engineered.

I fried two strips of bacon (because how could bacon be bad?) and fried onions and garlic in the fat. I added a can of chickpeas, the kale (about 1 lb?) and some chicken stock, maybe 1.5 cups total, and simmered. Instead of lemon juice I threw in a splash of white wine because I had the rest of a bottle of white wine in the fridge, and isn't that what cooks do?

I wanted to serve it over toasted bread, and had picked up a whole wheat baguette, which I sliced diagonally to make those long, pointy pieces. I toasted those in a pan on the stove with some olive oil.

Bread in bowl. Greens with some juice on top. Crumbled bacon on top of that.

It all smelled good and looked good. So what went wrong? Let me count the ways:
  1. Whole grain bread? Bad idea. Should have had nothing, or crusty white bread. Oh yeah, and I should have used the broiler.

  2. Bacon. Somehow it didn't work here. Weird, I know!

  3. Flavor. I think the wine was overkill. It didn't taste like kale. It just tasted weird.

And I was late to the table, to boot. It took longer to clean the two bunches of kale than I planned, and I had not printed out the recipes ahead of time. My kitchen laptop is v-e-r-y slow and apparently could not run my browser and word processor simultaneously. I wasted almost ten minutes messing around with that before I decided to just open both recipes in the browser and flip back and forth between them.

If I had made either dish as written, I think we all would have been much happier. However, last night I did learn that my son does not love chickpeas as I do. My boyfriend told me later that, as a kid, he was weirded out by the texture of chickpeas. Since I did not knowingly eat a chickpea until I was well into my 20's, that was a revelation to me.

So where does that leave me? First off, I will follow Daniel @ Casual Kitchen's rule: Do It One Time By The Book. Secondly, next time I try a stewed greens thing, I will make it for myself before springing it on my guys.

Verdict? I'm sure the recipes as written are fine. But this time I get a EPIC FAIL at chickpeas and greens. RTFD, Liz!

1 comment:

anotheryarn said...

If you are fond of indian inspired flavors my I suggest this recipe from Cooking Light for Chickpeas & Spinach Curry: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=354461

I've made it with chard instead of spinach and it worked nicely IMO.