Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Samantha Bee's Kale and Rice

Guys, I'm getting weird. I mean, it's one thing to emotionally depend on her for my weekly dose of cathartic feminist rage, but I'm pretty sure cooking dinner based on Samantha Bee's old interviews is crossing a bridge into crazy stalker land. Like, if I asked someone where a recipe came from, and their answer was "an interview with my favorite comedian", I'd be pretty weirded out... but here I am, eating this thing for lunch again and using all my neighbor's kale.


(My submission for 'whitest sentence of the year': One of my neighborhood Lindas grows three types of kale AND knows which one I like.)

I don't even know how I ended up reading this interview. Most likely, it was the result of anxiety-and-insomnia fueled late night brain distraction, less poetically known as "reading shit on the internet". I'm surprised I even noticed the recipe; half the time, when I'm trying to drown out my brain in excess information I'm barely paying attention. Last month I speed re-read my way through a bunch of childhood books (for the same reason) and found myself mentally skipping out on half the plot.

Anyways, her description (salty, spicy, garlicky) got my attention, as did the fact that it apparently isn't pretty and smells terrible. What can I say? I have affection for delicious things that aren't Instagram worthy. I realize the irony of this, but I actually find pretty food kind of irritating. I mean, I'm a good cook. Why do I also have to be a decorator? On principle, I object.



A friend of mine suggested recently that we enter some jam-club stuff into the state fair competition (my life is normal) but when I looked up the rules, I found approximately 96 points for things like "uniformity of pieces" and "general appearance of the jar" and a footnote about taste. Seriously? You know what the criteria for a jam competition should be? First, 'is it delicious?' and second 'do you have botulism?' Priorities.

Anyways, Sam Bee's kale and rice is as spicy, garlicky, and salty as advertised. It's also a pretty phenomenal make-ahead work lunch, if you're the kind of person who does such things. The cliff notes version of the recipe ("sauté kale, rice, garlic and chilies, then mix that with roasted chickpeas") worked for me, but since this is a food blog I've written out a recipe below. 


PS: Ms. Bee, if you're reading this, I love you and wish your show was every day. Barring that, could you please explain to the former Green Beret who's on NPR right now telling us we all just need to get along that for some people, this #takeaknee thing really is about right and wrong



Samantha Bee's Kale and Rice
Adapted, obviously, from Samantha Bee

1/2lb kale (I like Lacinato) ribs removed, roughly chopped and washed well
2 cups cooked rice
2 chilies*, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
~5 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

*I've used both jalapeños and some unidentifiable long red chilies I found in our community garden. Use whatever you've got, but consider two a minimum- as previously mentioned, I am extremely white and my comfort should not be considered a reliable indicator of spice level.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the chickpeas with a tablespoon of the olive oil, cumin, paprika, cayenne and a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a sheet pan. When the oven is ready, roast the chickpeas for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through.

Full disclosure: in both above instances, I have interpreted 'toss' to mean 'shake the sheet pan so all the chickpeas roll around'. I am not sorry.

Heat the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the chilies and garlic, and sauté until fragrant, just a couple of minutes. Turn the heat up to medium-high, then add a big handful of kale and a pinch of salt and sauté. When the kale has wilted, repeat (another handful of kale, another pinch of salt) until you run out of kale. Keep stirring regularly until all the kale is fully cooked, adding more olive oil if necessary.

At this point, if your kale has released a lot of water, turn up the heat and keep cooking until it's gone. Otherwise, add the rice, poke it with your spatula a bit to break it up, and then mix to combine. Sauté for a couple more minutes (at this point it's KINDA more like a stir-fry, but Samantha Bee says sauté and I do not argue with my betters) until everything is mixed up and a little oily. Take the pot off the heat, mix in the roasted chickpeas, and go pack yourselves some lunch.