Fast! Easy! And it has to use a lot of greens! That’s what we wanted this past Wednesday. A fast, easy dish that would use at least one bunch of the greens we picked up on Tuesday. So, we searched high and low for such a recipe. We thought we had one, but it seemed as if it wouldn’t be fast enough, so we dropped it (we might still use it later); then we saw a recipe for Swiss Chard and Chickpeas.
This recipe comes from Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe, by Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos, and Jorge Pineda. We don’t actually remember much about this book, as we looked at it over a year ago, but we do know this: everyone should have a good dish to eat during holidays, so we thought we’d check out this one, ordinary day notwithstanding.
We did change it to match what we have in the house: dried thyme instead of fresh, canned tomatoes instead of fresh — actually preferred, since fresh tomatoes this time of year are awful, and we omitted the red wine.
Would we have preferred to use home-cooked chickpeas? Of course! But, sometimes, you do what you do with what you have. Now, the tomatoes are different: when tomatoes are in season, chard isn’t, so this really isn’t a seasonal dish. Fortunately, canned tomatoes are good enough.
Procedure in detail:
Cook onions. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper to start the flavoring, and fry until translucent, about 5 minutes. Naturally, give the onions a stir from time to time to keep them from sticking and burning.
Cook tomatoes. Stir in the garlic, tomatoes, and thyme. Continue cooking and stirring off and on until the tomatoes are quite hot, the sauce is bubbling away, and much of the excess liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes or so.
Cook chard. Add the chopped chard, stir to coat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard is wilted and the stem pieces are partially cooked — a little crunch is perfect.
Add chickpeas. Stir in the chickpeas and heat through, stirring to help cook off the liquid and prevent sticking.
Season. Add the vinegar — it helps bring out flavors — stir, taste, and season with salt and pepper until you’re happy. Serve in bowls with a slice or two of crusty bread.
This turned out better than we expected. We thought that with canned chickpeas in the mix, the dish might have a slightly canned taste. But, no, it was nice and bright-flavored, tasty, and quite filling. It was also nice to have a dish that could be made up in under 30 minutes. That said, it’s not an exciting dish, but it’s simple, hearty fare, which can be just the thing. Four stars.