Chickpea Chile Verde

Vegan Chile Verde with tomatillo salsa and cauliflower ‘cheese’

There is a growing consensus that eating less animal protein can improve our health and reduce the environmental pressures associated with food production. Eat more vegetable protein and everybody wins. In this recipe chickpeas and a chunks of fried tofu cooked in tomatillo salsa become equally delicious and texturally impressive as the traditional pork used in this dish, so there is no sacrifice.

Makes enough for 10-20 portions – extra freezes very well.

Ingredients
Chickpeas (dry)
Kombu (kelp) a piece of this in the cooking process make chickpeas eaiser to digest
Bay leaves
1 onion (whole)

Tomatillo salsa
Garlic, crushed
Onion, sliced
Green chillies
Tomatillos
Cilantro (coriander) – use the roots and the leaves

Chile verde
Olive oil
3 large onions, sliced
8 cloves of garlic, crushed
4 -8 large green chillies, chopped
Salt
1 T fennel seeds
1 T coriander seeds
1 t cumin seeds
2 cardamom pods
2-4 bunches of kale or cavalo nero other sturdy greens

Firm tofu

Cauliflower cheese
Cauliflower
Nutritional yeast
Chilli flakes

Method:

The chickpeas:
Soak 500g dried chickpeas overnight in cold water.
When soaked, strain, rinse add plenty of water to a large pot. Add the soaked chickpeas, a sheet of kelp, few bay leaves and whole onion. Bring to simmer, skim of scum and cook slowly for 1-2 hours until tender. Strain and discard aromatics.

Tomatillo salsa
Sweat the onion, garlic, chilli and coriander root in olive oil until soft but not coloured, add tomatillos and cook down for 5 – 15 minutes and blend. Finish with fresh chopped coriander and salt.

Note: Any combination of quantities seems to work with this salsa: raw and blended or cooked with whatever technique, it all comes out its own unique style of green sauce. Try it a few times to develop something you like and then make big batches as it keeps well in freezer.

Chile verde

Sweat down 3 onions, 8 cloves garlic and 4-8 large green chillies in some olive oil with a little salt.
In a dry frypan, heat 1 large tablespoon fennel and coriander seeds, with a cardamom pod or two, white peppercorns and a teaspoon cumin seeds. Grind in a mortar and pestle and add to the pot.
Cook mixture slowly until onion is sticky and starts to colour. Add a little more oil, increase heat and add chopped kale, cook stirring constantly until the greens have wilted.
Add the chickpeas, stir well and continue to cook for a couple minutes. Add enough tomatillo salsa to cover the chickpeas, bring to a simmer, and cover.
Cook slowly for about an hour, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching the bottom.
Dry the tofu, cut it into chunks and season with a little salt. Fry in hot oil until nicely golden. Add to pot.

Cauliflower cheese
Pulse cauliflower florets in blender until resembles cheese, mix with olive oil, salt, white pepper, few chilli flakes and nutritional yeast. Taste and adjust. Dry in low oven for about an hour.

Assembly:

Plate up chickpeas and sprinkle with cauliflower cheese and more chopped coriander. delicious served with brown rice and flat breads.

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