Monday, November 4, 2013

Recipe // Red Zhug Spiced Kale and Tomato Stew with Carrots, Red Potatoes and Chickpeas

Apologies for the complete and utter abandonment of posting recipes but I took some time off to have a baby + get the hang of hanging out with a baby all the time.  Well we're six weeks in with Aster and I'm slowly figuring out how to cook and hang with a baby at the same time.  

(we've been doing a lot of this)... 

Anyway, it was a blustery day in the valley and soup sounded really lovely.  One of my CIA instructors said he always judges a restaurant by the caliber of their soup because it shows how talented the kitchen is with all of its leftovers. With visitors coming into town this week and weekend, I wanted to get rid of some of the produce we had lying around the house and this spicy kale and tomato stew was born.  

We have this amazing red zhug spice that we purchased in bulk from Whole Spice. In order to re-create the dry spice mix, it's a combination of chile tianjin, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt, cardamon, clove and cilantro. However, traditionally it's made as a paste with a mortar and pestle -- a combination of peppers, garlic, and herbs.  One recipe for the paste can be found here via The Atlantic.  I highly recommend trying out the recipe for the sauce and purchasing the dried spice mix from Whole Spice because it is seriously an amazing way to perk up soups and dips -- just like this kale and tomato stew -- 

Red Zhug Spiced Kale and Tomato Stew with Carrots, Red Potatoes and Chickpeas
(Serves 4-6)

For the Stew

1 quart                                  vegetable stock
1 12-ounce can                    chickpeas
1 22-ounce can                    peeled, whole tomatoes
1 bunch                                red kale, chopped
1 each                                  yellow onion, diced
3 each                                  garlic cloves, minced
1 each                                  carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch half moons
1 each                                  red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon                        red zhug spice mix
2 tablespoons                      red wine vinegar
1 squeeze                            lemon juice
1 teaspoon                           red pepper flakes 
                                             salt + pepper to taste 

**(soup will take a decent amount of salt to achieve the correct seasoning) 


For the Stew:

Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.  Cook onions until browning and then add the garlic.  Deglaze the pot with some of the vegetable stock, scraping all of the browned bits off the bottom of the pot.  Add the rest of the stock and crush the whole tomatoes with your hands and add the tomatoes and their juices to the pot.  Add the zhug, red pepper flakes, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and kale.  Let simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Add the potatoes, carrots and chickpeas and then let simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes until carrots and potatoes are cooked through but not too hard and not too soft.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve over the grain of your choice (cous cous, brown rice or quinoa are all good options) or with a grilled cheese sandwich made with sharp cheddar and good bread (also delicious).

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