A few days ago I ran across a post at Food 52 for lots of dinner ideas with kale. I want to eat more kale, and I had kale on hand I needed to use. I got excited about a Spanish-style dish that replaced spinach with kale: espinacas con garbanzos. The author said it had been her favorite dish in Barcelona. I had all the ingredients, so I decided to make it! However, as I was cooking, I had this feeling that it would not be enough for two people for dinner. I decided to make something to go with it…rice or pasta or something. I went to look for orzo in my pantry, but returned to the stove with arborio rice instead. More on what happened with that after I share the process of making this dish.
The recipe calls for shallots. I lied. I didn’t have everything. I didn’t have any shallots. But I did have red onion, so I used a bit of that.
After chopping the onion, I heated some olive oil in my pan and threw my onion in there. While it softened, I chopped up some garlic and got my saffron and paprika. When the onion was beginning to brown, I added all of those things and some kosher salt.
After a couple of minutes I added a 28-oz can of chickpeas, drained. While they browned up, I chopped my kale.
When the chickpeas were ready, I added some red wine vinegar (oops, I lied again…I didn’t have sherry vinegar) and a blob of tomato paste. I stirred that up well.
It smelled really good.
Then I added the kale.
And it was then that I realized I needed something to go with this. And it was getting quite late in the evening. I stupidly chose the arborio rice when I should have looked harder for the orzo. I have never made risotto before; I have only used arborio rice in paella, which is super easy to do. But risotto requires constant stirring. And then, as it got close to being done, the consistency just didn’t seem right to me. Did I just make European fufu?
I decided we would try eating it anyway. So I got out my little pan to toast some pine nuts and I put a little lemon juice in the kale and chickpeas and gently reheated it while the pine nuts toasted.
Then I put some fufu-style risotto in a couple of bowls and piled the kale and chickpeas on top, then garnished with the toasted pine nuts.
I have to say, it smelled really good and I was excited to try it. I’ve been through enough kitchen failures to know that very few result in inedible food. I ate it…The flavors were good. I was little unsure about the not-really-risotto. The texture was strange. I got seconds without the rice, but decided it was too tart without the delicate sweetness of the rice. So I went back to the kitchen for more arborio.
With apologies to anyone from Spain, or anyone knowledgeable about Spanish cooking, I didn’t really know what I was doing with this dish. I have no idea what one is supposed to serve it with. That said, I want to try it again with orzo. But if you have any ideas how I should be serving this, or if I have just totally insulted your food culture, please let me know in the comments. And I apologize in advance for wrecking your dish…