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In cold weather, I have more or less a recipe formula that I use for dinners: vegetable, legume, starch. I’ve learned this from the greats. Mark Bittman has a table in How to Cook Everything (<-affiliate) titled “Bean, Green, and Pasta Combos.” Deborah Madison includes a Potato and Chickpea Stew in her most recent book In My Kitchen (<-affiliate).
This approach to cooking provides me with unlimited combinations, and just enough structure to keep things simple and fast. Typically, my vegetables are some kind of leafy green such as kale, chard, or collards. I’ll often add root vegetables such as carrots or turnips if I have them. My starches are typically whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, or farro.
Depending on the day, I’ll pick stew, stir fry, or swap the whole grain for a pasta dish. I don’t often use potatoes (simply because I don’t always have them on hand). But Deborah Madison’s chickpea stew (<-affiliate) sounded so good, I knew I had to try it.
CHICKPEA, CHARD AND POTATO STEW
I’ve adapted this recipe to share a potato stew for winter months (when bell peppers are not in season). In addition, I’ve reduced the number of ingredients and swapped some of the spices because I almost never have saffron on hand. And since I’m featuring this potato stew as part of my easy to feed a crowd Saturday Night Supper series, I’ve combined the cooking into one pot.
I love that this chickpea, chard and potato stew comes together quickly and easily. There are less than 10 ingredients and everything takes 30 minutes to cook. In fact, these kinds of quick and easy recipes are the ones I find I make most often on weeknights.
USING CANNED INGREDIENTS
Canned ingredients like beans, legumes, and tomato products make it easy to get dinner on your table quickly. They’re fast and relatively inexpensive. I keep a few canned beans in my pantry to use in a pinch, which happens pretty regularly. I always have a few types of canned tomatoes too.
However, I also make beans on a regular basis. I use them immediately. But I have found that I can also freeze them to use later in soups and stews. Preparing beans, or in this case chickpeas, from scratch is also friendly on the wallet. And I find they are are more flavorful than canned products.
FOOD AND WINE WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Because this chickpea, chard and potato stew is easy and fast to prepare, it’s a perfect dinner for sharing with friends and family. The recipe easily doubles to feed a crowd and is a hearty winter meal. Plus, this potato stew is naturally vegan and gluten free, making it easier to accommodate any dietary restrictions anyone may have.
For me, a great meal with friends and family always includes wine. I’ve paired this chickpea chard and potato stew with a local Barbera from Boeger Winery.
This family owned winery is renown for their Barbera, a varietal that was new to me when I moved to Sacramento. The El Dorado AVA grows a lot of this grape, and Boeger is no exception.
The 2016 Barbera perfectly complements the acidity of the tomato in the potato stew, with bright cherry acidity, a hint of raspberry, and a finish of toasted almond. It’s great for sipping as you’re cooking and pairs well with dinner.
If you’re local to the Sacramento area, I highly recommend taking a visit to Boeger Winery. They have a lovely lawn and picnic area that’s family friendly. It’s shaded in summer with running water. And a beautiful area to sit and sip some wine.
Looking for other options to pair with this wine? My ravioli lasagna is another quick and easy recipe. This roasted cauliflower flatbread pizza is a good one. Or try this farro with radicchio and chard.
Chickpea, Chard and Potato Stew
This one pot potato stew with chickpeas and chard is an easy, gluten free and vegan meal. Hearty, delicious, ready in 30 minutes.
Salt and pepper, to taste
potatoes, diced into 1-inch cubes
bunch chard, stems finely diced, leaves roughly chopped
chickpeas, drained and rinsed (1 ½ to 2 cups)
water or low sodium vegetable broth
Chopped parsley, for topping
Heat olive oil in a pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
Add onion and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let cook 5 to 8 minutes until translucent and fragrant.
Add garlic, oregano and thyme and stir until well coated with oil.
Add potatoes and stir. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 10 minutes.
Bring heat to medium high. Add chard stems, crushed tomatoes and chickpeas and water or broth. Stir well to combine.
When potato stew is beginning to boil, stir in chard leaves to wilt.
Remove from heat and serve with parsley and optional parmesan.
Inspired by In My Kitchen by Deborah Madison (<-affiliate)
With this kind of recipe, I try to fold the prep time into the cooking. Because the potatoes take about 10 unattended minutes to cook, I dice my chard stems and chop the leaves at this time. I use this time to open my crushed tomatoes, rinse my chickpeas, and measure the water for the rest of the stew. And, of course, open a bottle of wine. If, for some reason, that wasn’t the first step of cooking.
Leave out the parmesan cheese. If you desire an additional sprinkle, try nutritional yeast.
This vegan potato stew is a hearty meal in itself. If you desire, you can add ground Italian sausage. Brown your meat before adding the potatoes.
CHECK THE FRIDGE
If you don’t have chard, you could use spinach or beet greens and achieve a similar flavor for this potato stew. Kale or cabbage can also be used but will take a bit more time to cook. You could add carrots or other root vegetables like rutabagas or parsnips. Add these with the potatoes to ensure they’re tender. Chickpeas are excellent in this dish but you could swap them for any white bean such as great northern, navy, or cannellini beans.
If you have fresh tomatoes, you can create your own puree to use instead of the canned tomatoes. Or use canned tomatoes preserved from your summer garden. Crushed tomatoes have more liquid than diced tomatoes and a pureed consistency compared with diced tomatoes.
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