My youngest brother, Chris, always howls “oooohhh noooo” when he looks into my kitchen cupboards and fridge. Says we live on starvation rations. I like to think that I limit waste by buying a few meals at a time – and I keep at least four other meals in the pantry. But, even I have to admit that it can be slim pickings in there sometimes. So the challenge the other day was to make something tasty, seasonal and warming for dinner … without having to go to the shops to pick up extras. A bit of a stretch – but not undoable.
Fresh produce-wise I had: a half a bag of kale, a handful of baby tomatoes, onions and garlic in the salad drawer. And there was Parmesan and a small chunk of chorizo in the cheese section, leftover sweetcorn on the cob and a half a box of liquid stock in the fridge.
In the dry cupboard a tin each of: clams, whole peeled tomatoes and chickpeas. I always have great olive oil, and on the crockery shelf was a two day old, excellent, Knead ciabatta (originally kept to make breadcrumbs). So – I threw them all together and made:
SPICY CLAM, KALE AND CHICKPEA STEW.
- Boil kettle and pour hot water onto the baby tomatoes, allow to stand for a couple of minutes.
- Then remove and skin by making a gentle slit in the side and popping the fruit out. Halve and reserve.
- Roughly chop one onion (I used a sweet red one), the chorizo and two cloves of garlic
- Fry in good quality olive oil until softened – you should be able to smell the chorizo spiciness coming out now
- Add tin of tomatoes and a cup of chicken stock and bring to a good simmer for 10 minutes or so
- Slice the corn kernels from the cob, tear the kale into palm-size pieces and add corn, kale and baby tomato halves to the pot.
- Bring back to a simmer and allow to soften
- Season to taste
- Add chickpeas and clams (having drained both first)
- Simmer for another 5 -6 minutes until warmed through
While the stew is in final simmer – cut thickish slices from your ciabatta.
- Slice a clove of garlic in half and rub it across the surface of each slice. Drizzle with olive oil and a scatter of salt and toast under grill. If no grill available, use toaster and add garlic, salt and oil afterwards.
Check seasoning of your stew once more and ladle into soup bowls.
Grate a generous dredge of parmesan over the stew, top with a twist of fresh ground black pepper and serve immediately.
I paired it with a glass of cold, tart rose (for an extra hit of sunshine). And, a second piece of ciabatta for dipping in the left over sauce. The stew had all the rich, spicy, garlicy, flavours of a late-summer Mediterranean supper and took all of thirty minutes to prepare. It was delicious.
Not bad for starvation rations, eh Chris?