Kale and Chickpea Stew with Smoked Paprika

Cider food pairings kale

This simple stew combines all of the ingredients you want to eat more of: beans and hearty kale. The smoked paprika takes these simple ingredients and turns them into a balanced supper that you will return to again and again. There is the option of adding sausage for a heartier version. And I must confess the first time I made this, I turned it into breakfast: started with a can of fire roasted tomatoes, added the stew (about 1 ½ cups) waited until it was simmering and dropped in four eggs. It made a delicious brunch, with crusty toast for dipping and paired with our Apricot Cider.

Yield: 4 servings

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 small onion, diced

1 large garlic clove, minced

Generous pinch red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons sweet or hot smoked paprika (or to taste), divided

2 teaspoons ground cumin

8 cups (packed) kale, center ribs and stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped (from about 1 1/2 pounds kale)

4 cups vegetable stock

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained

Sherry vinegar, to taste

Sugar, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and reduce heat to medium low and sauté until soft and golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes; cook for 1 minute. Add paprika and cumin; cook until fragrant, 15 – 30 seconds more. Add kale, stock and chickpeas. Cover and cook until kale is soft and chickpeas are heated through.

Remove lid, turn heat to medium-high and cook until the stew thickens somewhat. Season to taste with salt and pepper, a splash of sherry vinegar, sugar and more smoked paprika, if desired. Transfer to individual bowls; drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and serve.

For a heartier, non-vegetarian version of this recipe, add cooked andouille, kielbasa or other spicy sausage along with the chickpeas.