Saffron Chickpea Stew with Tahini Lemon Sauce

photo by  Jessica Chappe

Sometimes (hopefully more often than not), the ingredients in my cabinet give me an idea. I'll look into the cabinet while putting something away and notice a can of coconut milk or a little bit of orecchiette pasta and *bam* there's the seed for my idea. This stew came from a can of chickpeas in the pantry and my new obsession with saffron (too bad its an expensive obsession!). This is the kind of dish where you can just throw a bunch of good ingredients into a pot, leave them to mingle for a bit and return to a robust and juicy combination of flavors. If you don't have preserved lemon, that's not a problem but they add a nice and sort of unexpected zip to the mix. 

Ingredients:

Stew -

1 can chickpeas, washed

1 bunch lacinato kale, washed and stripped off the stem

2 cans fire roasted peeled whole tomatoes

Half white onion, sliced

Handful flatleaf parsley, chopped

3 cloves garlic, diced

3 preserved lemons, sliced

Pinch of saffron threads

Pinch chili flakes

1 teaspoon paprika

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Sauce

Tablespoon tahini

Half a lemon

1 clove garlic, crushed

Squeeze of honey

Salt

Pepper

As much cold water as you need to whisk the tahini till smooth

Method:

1. Open and pour the cans of tomatoes into a large bowl and crush the tomatoes with your hands.

2. Heat 2 table spoons of olive oil in a medium sized soup pot. Once your oil is hot enough, add the sliced onion and diced garlic and cook until translucent. Add your chick peas, a big pinch of salt, and chili flakes. Stir together and cook for a minute. Add tomatoes (and their juices), paprika, saffron, parsley and preserved lemons. Let the mixture come to a boil then turn down to a simmer.

3. Meanwhile, wash and chiffonade* your kale. Once the stew has been simmering for about twenty minutes, add the kale. Simmer for anywhere from another half an hour to an hour – the flavors will become richer the longer it cooks.

4. To make the tahini sauce, spoon your tahini into a small bowl and add a little cold water. Slowly (key word slowly!), whisk the water into the tahini in a circular motion in the bowl. Once smooth, add the lemon juice, garlic, honey salt and pepper. Mix together, you may need more water to get the tahini to be smooth again.

5. Serve stew hot with a heavy drizzle of the tahini sauce and plenty of thick crusty bread to soak up the juices!

*Here's how to chiffonade if you don't know how! https://food52.com/blog/10964-how-to-chiffonade-basil-or-any-leafy-herb