Warm Spiced Cavolo Nero, Mushroom and Chestnut Salad 

(Serves 4)

Once in a while, happy accidents happen in my kitchen. Usually they happen when I find myself in a spot of bother and need to come up with a quick meal using store cupboard ingredients, together with what I may or may not, have in the fridge. A lucky bonus that these ingredients are in season, but genuinely, aside from the Cavolo Nero and mushrooms, everything else was found in my spice rack and store cupboards. 

The addition of artichokes and chick peas, might sound a bit like the salad shouldn’t ‘work’ as a combination… but it does, very much so. As ever with my recipes, take what you like from it and use as much or as little as you like and of course add in your own bits (like bacon or pancetta, which would both nothing short of marvellous in this warm salad) and serve as a starter, side dish or main course.

Ingredients

500g Cavolo Nero cabbage or Kale, cut into 2 inch thick strips, width-ways, discarding tough stalks

250g Chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced

400g tin of chick peas, drained and rinsed

285g jar of artichokes in oil, drained and oil set aside for use

10 cooked chestnuts, each sliced into 3 pieces

1 teaspoon of ground coriander

½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper 

½ teaspoon of turmeric powder

½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Maldon sea salt and black pepper to taste

Method

Preheat a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and allow the pan to get nice and hot. Once hot, add the mushrooms, stir briefly and then do not be tempted to stir them for a few minutes. This will encourage all the natural water content out of the mushrooms, preventing them from being soggy and instead browning them nicely and encouraging a lovely nutty flavour. After a few minutes have passed, then drizzle a good amount of the olive oil from the jar of artichokes (about 2-3 tablespoons roughly) and stir the mushrooms well, lifting any that may be stuck to the pan base and add the spices and mix in well. 

Next, add the Cavolo Nero and stir fry until the leaves cook and soften and turn a vibrant, deep glossy green. Add the chestnuts and chickpeas and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper to taste and stir well to evenly incorporate all the ingredients. Taste the dish, adjust the seasoning and serve. Crumbling feta into this would literally be heavenly, but adding quinoa, barley, brown rice or bulgar wheat to the salad would also make a meal of it too!