The past two days have brought us grey skies and pouring, drizzling, sprinkling, thundering rain. Rain making a puddle out of the patio, pooling in old buckets, pattering and rattling on the roofs, and pinging like chimes on the pile of junk under the eves of the barn.
Last night between rains the sky flashed and crackled with lightening and thunder, not just the kind that booms and rolls harmlessly all over the sky, but the white-hot flash and immediate heart-splitting crackle-explosion of deadly lightening striking very, very close, and then the thunder that rang out all around and rattled and shook us while we lay wakeful in the loft.
In the brief clear spaces between water guzzling from the sky in soaking torrents, we hurry to get chores done, the goats sheltered, the little chickies warm and dry.
The garden is green and spangled with rain drops, the barley is high and headed with soft green ears, and the spinach is, surprisingly, thriving this year and loving all the rain.
Always when I am beginning to enjoy the green of the pasture and the damp air outside smelling of puddles and sweet mulch, it starts again, like fog at first but soon large, cold splotches of water from high up in the clouds.
Yesterday we were struggling to roll a new bale of heavy rain-soaked hay in for the cows when we saw the silver rush of water curtain towards us in the gap of the road between the forest. We ran and still were soaked to the skin, our clothes so wet they clung and dripped with water.
Afterwards we stood over the crackling stove baking with dry, hot air, and dripped and streamed until we were dry, since most of the towels were on the clothes line when the storm began and were just as wet.
This very simple stew with the green abundance of spinach, sorrel and chard from the garden, warmed us and cheered us up.
Chicken, Chickpea, and Spinach Stew
1 whole chicken, quartered
Butter or olive oil
2 cups of dried chickpeas
A very generous bunch of spinach, sorrel, Swiss chard, and beet greens
1 quart water or broth
- You can use canned chickpeas, but i will tell you how to make this really from scratch, because it’s so useful to be able to do such things for yourself: soak the chickpeas in plenty of water overnight. Drain and rinse them in the morning, put them in a pot, cover them up with water, put the lid on and bring them to a boil and let them cook until they are tender. Chickpeas always get very foamy, and you may want to skim the foam once or twice. Drain them and set aside.
- Sprinkle the quartered chicken pieces with salt and both kinds of pepper, finely slice the onion, and chop the greens. (Don’t forget to make broth with the chicken frame for flavor, thrift, and nutrition! )
- In a large pot melt a large spoonful of butter or olive oil. Brown the pieces of chicken on both sides one or two pieces at a time so they brown nicely. Once they are browned, take them out, and when they are all browned, add the onion and sautée until clear.
- Add back to the pot the chicken pieces, the cooked chickpeas and chopped spinach.
- Add the quart of water or broth, season everything with salt, white pepper and black pepper, put on the lid and let it all cook until the chicken is tender.