About This Blog

This is, as the title indicates, my kitchen notebook (the header is actually a scanned image of the cover of a notebook that I started using about 25 years ago and the background is a stained page from that book). I am not a professional recipe writer. If you try any recipe here, please keep that in mind, these recipes have not been tested by an independent tester. The "recipes" are often not even really recipes but rather a list of ingredients that I've noted after preparing a dish on the fly that I thought came out well. Perhaps I've also added some instructions, but I rarely keep accurate track of what I've done in terms of time or temperature, I've just noted to the best of my memory (feeble) what I did.

Please feel free to take some inspiration from here, but on the other hand, please give credit where it is due. I also welcome any constructive comments that you might have if you are inspired to try a recipe. Questions are welcome, but keep in mind that I may not remember specifics. The dishes do evolve over time...

Thank you and enjoy!

Cavolo Nero and Chickpea Soup

1/2 pound dried chickpeas, presoaked
2 small true bay leaves
2 small branches fresh thyme
2 1/2 ounces guanciale or pancetta or bacon, cut into lardons
olive oil as needed
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 or more cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled and pureed or about 2 cups tomato puree
1 pound Cavolo Nero kale, ribs removed and torn into bite size pieces
1 or more cups of diced roasted chicken (or leftover meat or poultry of your choice)
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for drizzling

In a 5 quart pressure cooker, add water to cover the presoaked chickpeas by at least 2 inches. Add the bay leaves and whole thyme branches to the pot. Cover and bring up to high pressure, adjust the heat to maintain pressure and cook for 10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally (let it sit off the heat).

While the chickpeas are cooking, saute the tasty salted pig parts in some olive oil over medium heat until they start to crisp. Add the onion and garlic and continue to cook until the onion is translucent. Add the tomato puree and cook a few minutes more. Add the kale and toss. Remove from the heat and set aside.

The chickpeas should be nearly tender, if not cook some more, under pressure a few more minutes or cover the cooker with the lid not locked in place. If the beans are old it may take much longer. For the next step the beans should be nearly tender but not falling apart.

Add the contents of the saute pan to the cooker, stir it in and add enough water to cover everthing generously but not so much that you can't bring the cooker up to pressure again. (I used at least 2 quarts of water in total but didn't measure so I can't specify). Lock lid in place and bring up to high pressure again, adjust the heat to maintain pressure and cook another 5 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. The chickpeas should now be falling apart tender and the kale quite tender as well. Use a potato masher to mash the chickpeas to a chunky puree right in the cooker. Stir in the diced chicken. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a generous drizzle of your favorite olive oil (I used McEvoy's Olio Nuovo).

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