Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The perfect fall lunch

It's amazing how our bodies react to cooler weather. We tend to yearn for warm foods like soups and stews instead of cold salads and raw foods. Warming spices like cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg seem to find their way into our soups, coffees and baked goods. Pumpkin-spiced latte anyone?

This dish is the perfect fall lunch or dinner. Caramelizing the onion not only makes this dish taste better, but also heartier. It also takes advantage of those winter squashes that are popping up all over the market—acorn, butternut, kabocha, spaghetti or pumpkin. Feel free to substitute the acorn squash in this dish for your favorite winter squash.

Kale with squash, chickpeas, caramelized onions and cilantro-yogurt dressing
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 T olive oil
1 bunch kale, washed
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
dash of pepper
dash of red chili flakes
1 acorn squash, cooked and cut into cubes
1 c cooked chickpeas
1 T cilantro, minced
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp tahini

1 bunch of cilantro, rinsed and roughly chopped
1/2 c yogurt

In a saute pan over low heat, add 1 T olive oil. Add a dash of sea salt and the onions. Let cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. It's best if you walk away from the stove and start prepping the kale, so you won't be tempted to stir. The onions should slowly start to brown and caramelize.

Destem the kale leaves with your hands. Keep the stems and dice small. Take the leaves, roll them, and slice thinly into a chiffonade (very thin slices). Heat remaining 1 T of olive oil over low-to-medium heat. First add the kale stems (since they take longer to cook than the leaves), then add the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, stirring frequently. About five minutes later, add the kale leaves. If the leaves start to stick to the pan, add a little water. Cook for a few minutes or until the kale starts to wilt. Add the garlic cloves, cooking until fragrant and remove from heat. The kale will cook down to about half the size it was, when you put it into the pan.

In a large bowl, add the squash and chickpeas. In a small bowl mix together the cilantro, lemon juice and tahini. Pour over the squash and chickpeas, and mix carefully.

Blend the cilantro and yogurt until smooth.

To assemble, start with a bed of kale. Add the squash and chickpea mixture and top with caramelized onions. Drizzle the dressing around the dish.

Makes about 4 servings


la domestique said...

I think this is fantastic! Love the addition of caramelized onions. Yum.

Sarah @ Two Blue Lemons said...

And to take beautiful pictures of kale, squash, and caramelized onions! That's tricky - looks DELISH!

kickpleat said...

I so love adding caramelized onions to a dish - it really does make it special. Love what you've got goin' on that plate!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the kind words :)

Anonymous said...

Have to admit that I find caramelizing a skill in itself.. I'm really fond of Yotam Ottolenghi's (he's my fave cook) caramelized fennel, but only after so many times do I get it right to balance butter, sugar and pinch of salt.

Unknown said...

B - I still need to get his cookbook!!

Chatty Crone said...

This looks delish too! sandie

Mike said...

I love to drink a glass of warm broth in the winter time.