I’ve been reading a lot of cookbooks lately. That’s rare for me–I usually find a recipe online that’s close to what I’ve imagined in my head all week. Then I almost always tweak the ingredient list to fit what’s already in our fridge or pantry.
And while that approach has served me well thus far, I’m finding myself at a different phase in cooking and baking. I’m interested in understanding another chef’s flavors, techniques and vision. I also love reading the personal stories attached to their recipes and find myself wanting to do their stories justice by recreating the dish exactly (or trying my best to).
And that’s where this Chickpea Stew with Kale, Poached Eggs, and Smoked Paprika comes in. I haven’t been to Sqirl in LA but I am ALWAYS hearing about it. So when I came across Jessica Koslow’s cookbook, Everything I want to Eat: Sqirl and the New California Cooking, I couldn’t resist buying it. That same day I went home and read the book cover to cover. Yes, the cookbook photos are very “California hipster” but the dishes are inspired, simple and totally stunning.
And since Sqirl is famous for their toasts and brunch, I thought I’d try a savory recipe first. This spiced chickpea stew with poached eggs and kale (I subbed kale for chard because I couldn’t find it in the middle of a NYC February). It is filling, flavorful and soooo delish. Also, this recipe pushed me to do something I’ve never done before–poach eggs! Now I’m an egg poaching master. I also doubled the recipe because I knew I’d want to eat this chickpea stew all week long. I had it the next day for lunch topped with crispy skinned salmon. It was da bomb.
Next up from this cookbook is jam making and baking something sweet! Can’t wait to share it with you.
Chickpea Stew with Kale, Poached Eggs, and Smoked Chile
(Adapted slightly from Jessica Koslow’s recipe)
Serves 8-10 people for brunch
2 cups dried garbanzo beans
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 small yellow onions, diced
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 inch knob of ginger, peeled and finely grated
Pinch of ground cinnamon
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 8oz can of tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Eggs for poaching
4 large handfuls of thinly sliced Lacinato kale (or chard if it’s in season)
In a large bowl, combine garbanzos, 1 1/2 tsp salt and cover (at least two inches above the beans) with lukewarm water. Make sure you have enough space in the bowl as the garbanzos will absorb water and expand. Let soak at room temperature overnight.
The next day, drain and rinse the garbanzos. Put them in a pot and add 4 tsp salt and 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then let simmer until garbanzos are tender and no longer chalky, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add water as needed to keep the garbanzos covered.
When the beans are done, transfer them to another bowl. Keep the cooking liquid too.
In the now empty pot, add olive oil, onions, garlic, ginger. Sautee until onions are translucent, around 4-5 minutes. Add spices and stir until fragrant, around 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and stir, letting bits of tomato stick to the bottom of the pan (but not burning them). This will give the stew a deeper flavor. Once the tomatoes are reduced and sticky, add the garbanzos and their liquid. Allow to cook for another 10-15 minutes until the flavors come together.
Remove half of the beans and place in a glass bowl. Mash them good. Add them back into the stew. This will help thicken it. Stir well and let cook down for another 10 minutes.
Wash kale and julienne the tops. Squeeze juice of one lemon juice over kale. Add glug of olive oil, salt and stir.
In another pot, add 2 inches of water and allow that to come to a simmer (just before boiling). Add 1 tbsp white vinegar. Crack egg into small bowl. Swirl the simmering water with a spoon creating a whirlpool, add egg in the middle of the whirlpool. Watch it dance.
After 4-5 minutes, remove the egg with a slotted spoon. Place on a hot plate to keep the eggs warm. Step and repeat until you have enough poached eggs for all people.
Slice a baguette lengthwise down the middle. Rub with olive oil on the inside. Place in oven for 5 minutes until nice and toasty. Serve in a bowl, chickpeas, eggs, kale, and baguette.