Thursday, December 07, 2006


I've been stewing chickpeas this fall. There's something truly amazing about the notion that you can take a bag of something so completely inedible as dried beans, and so easily (if not quickly), turn it into something so utterly delicious. This is also a really, really cheap way to feed a crowd. This amount served three, with lots o' leftovers for lunch the next day.

1 lb. bag of dried chickpeas
lots of water
some salt, or a bouillion cube, or chicken or veggie broth
an onion
a few cloves of garlic
some dried herbs -- sage, herb de provence, oregano, whatever you've got around
a piece of cinnamon stick
one can diced tomatoes

Rinse chickpeas and pick over (there really can be little tiny stones in a bag of dried beans!). Soak them in water for as long as possible, at least a few hours if not overnight. You can also cover the chickpeas in water and bring to a boil, then let soak in that water till it cools.

Rinse and cover with fresh water (I used water along with some chicken broth) by a couple inches, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let 'em simmer. Peel and quarter the onion and toss that in. Peel and smash the garlic cloves and toss those in. Toss in the cinnamon stick, though if you're not big on cinnamon, fish it out after a little while. Simmer for a long time, depending on how tender you want them, but I'd say at least an hour and a half. Getting on towards the end of all this, throw in some herbs (whatever strikes your fancy, though I'm partial to chickpeas & sage myself) and maybe another bouillion cube, and some salt & pepper, and maybe a little cayenne, and the can of diced tomatoes, with their juice. Let simmer some more. They're done when you say they're done, and when the water has thickened a bit into a stew, and the onions and garlic are so boiled that they've practically melted into the cooking liquid, making a truly delicious broth.

I served this over rice, topped with chicken thighs browned in butter, then simmered in a small amount of white wine & chicken broth, sauteed garlic, and red pepper flakes. The remaining wine, of course, had to be drunk with the meal as well.

No comments: