Kale & chickpeas with orange and tarragon

kale chickpeas and tarragon

Today is our anniversary! David and I have been married sixteen years. It’s gone so fast! These years have become such a long, strong part of my memory, of my happiness, of my life – of who we are. I want to make something special for dinner tonight, and I’ve been thinking about memorable meals we’ve had. The first meal we ever ate together, David made for me – ravioli, red sauce, garlic bread and wine pilfered from his roommates. Still one of the pleasantest meals I’ve ever had! In our courting days we used to go on hikes and take picnics. We always brought bread, peanut butter, dark chocolate and fruit – oranges and apples. What an unlikely, perfect combination of flavors! We brought wine hidden in snapple bottles. The first time we’d ever visited the town where we now live, we went out to dinner on my birthday. I told the waiter, “I’m a vegetarian,” and David said, “So am I.” And that was that – no big announcement, he’d just quietly become a vegetarian, and that’s how we’ve continued our lives together. For a long time we’d share the same plate. We’d make a big mess of pasta or rice and beans and vegetables, and pile it on one big deep plate. And these days I feel grateful every night to live with a man who will happily eat all of the strange food I put on the table! Anybody who likes to cook will know that making food to share with people that you love is what it’s all about. I’m so happy to have somebody to share food with, and listen to music with, to watch films with, to look for birds with, to raise children with, to walk with, to talk with.

I’ll make something more special tonight, but in the meantime, here’s a dish that reminds me of a special meal we had on vacation long ago. We used to go to upstate New York every autumn, and we’d eat at a restaurant called The 1819 House. It was just our kind of place. They served something they called vegetarian paella, and we’ve been having different versions of it ever since. Here’s one version, which I call…vegetarian paella. And this new version has kale, chickpeas, artichoke hearts and olives, in a sweet/salty broth made with white wine, orange juice and tarragon. All of the flavors blend nicely, so you can’t tell where one begins and the other ends. As David said, you don’t really taste the orange, you just taste a sunny, summery flavor.

Here’s a version of Bob Marley’s Mellow Mood, which is our song!

2 T olive oil
1 shallot – finely diced
2 cloves garlic – minced
zest of half an orange
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup white wine
1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 cup olives, pitted and chopped
2 t capers
1 cup cooked, chopped kale (Rinse in a large bowl, remove the stems, then boil in salted water for about ten minutes. Drain, let cool, chop)
1 T butter
1 T fresh tarragon, chopped
dash white wine vinegar
salt and plenty of pepper

Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the shallots, garlic and orange zest. Once everything starts to turn brown, add the orange juice and white wine. Cook till it starts to thicken and get syrupy.

Add the chickpeas. Stir to coat. Add the capers, artichoke hearts and olives. Stir and cook for a minute or two. Add the kale. Stir and cook. Add about 2 or 3 cups of water, till it’s as brothy as you like it. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, till everything is cooked through.

Add the tarragon, butter and vinegar. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve! You can serve it over pasta, rice, or couscous, if you feel like it.


1 thought on “Kale & chickpeas with orange and tarragon

  1. Happy anniversary you two –
    and thank you for my birthday post on the ‘spill.

    I’ve been in contemplating mood too – I’m so happy to have somebody to chase orange monsters with, listen to music with, to watch films with, to look for bargains with, to raise children with, bounce to SKA with, to walk with, to talk with, rebuild a house with, create books with and share your blog with – I passed on the link and we now adapt and recreate from it.

    I will make a pear cake later in the weekend – but I found out this morning I needed to get a whole host of t-shirts, books, cards and posters ready for next weekend – so I’ve ended up busy, but with a great playlist, friends and family… and that’s all that matters really.

    Have a wonderful meal tonight – huge hugs -shane, ruth, zane and pip x

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