Chickpeas may be my favorite legume on the planet! They’re amazing as a crispy snack, are the super star ingredient in falafel and hummus and when they’re slowly braised with sultry veggies like porcini mushrooms, Tuscan kale, and fresh herbs they are as decadent and rich as any braised meat dish I’ve ever come across. I mean, seriously is there anything chickpeas can’t do?
photo credit || Salt and Wind
When I was planning the vegetarian-friendly main dish for our Italian Polenta Party I knew I wanted a dish that would fill our home with its enticing aroma as it cooked away making my family so anxious for dinner that they literally flock to the kitchen! As far as I’m concerned there isn’t anything cozier than a decadent dish like this slow cooking in the oven all afternoon on a chilly winter day. Walking in from a long day at school or work to a smell like that is the stuff that memories are made of…at least for people as food obsessed as my family is!
We love these braised chickpeas over polenta or rice, but it also makes a really great soup by simply adding 3-4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock to thin it out.
- 2 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in cold water, drained and rinsed
- 1 fresh or dried bay leaf
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms, soaked for 30 minutes in warm water, drained and minced very fine + 1 tablespoon of the soaking liquid (after mincing you should 1 heaped tablespoon minced porcini.)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups vegan “chicken” stock if making vegetarian or chicken stock
- 1 (14-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes and juices
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale, ribs removed and leaves cut onto thin ribbons
- juice of 1 lemon
- toasted pine nuts
- oven roasted tomatoes and garlic, optional
- shaved Parmesan, omit if vegan
- Combine the chickpeas, bay leaf, and enough cold water to cover generously in a large pot. Do not salt the water at this point! Bring the water to a boil over medium heat, reduce to low and simmer until it just becomes tender, about 20-25 minutes. Drain, discard the bay leaf and set aside.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F. In a large casserole or braising dish heat the oil over medium heat, add the celery, onion, minced porcini and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until just tender, about 15 minutes. Add the cooked chickpeas, stock, tomatoes, oregano, rosemary, and chili flakes, season well with salt and pepper to taste then bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, remove from the heat, cover, and braise in the oven for 35-45 minutes until the chickpeas are tender. Stir in the kale and continue to braise in the oven for another 8-10 minutes until the kale is very tender. Stir in the juice of 1 lemon right before serving.
- Serve piping hot garnished with pine nuts, shaved Parmesan, and oven roasted tomatoes over polenta, rice or quinoa.
Prep and cook time does not include the soaking time for the chickpeas.
Big love to Melissa’s Produce for sponsoring our feast and for providing the most beautiful fruits and vegetables to feast upon!