I use canned chickpeas a lot, for their ease and convenience, and they are perfectly fine and good, but something happens when you take the extra trouble to soak and cook your own chickpeas that turns this humble store cupboard staple into something extraordinary. These slow cooked chickpeas from Yotam Ottolenghi’s latest book Plenty More up the ante even more by slow cooking chickpeas for five hours.
Here the chickpeas are soaked overnight, drained, boiled rapidly for five minutes, drained again, then cooked slowly in a rich, thick sauce of pureed pepper, onion and tomato so the chickpeas become meltingly soft and drenched in flavor. It’s worthwhile making a double batch of these chickpeas, they mellow and get better after a few days in the refrigerator and they freeze beautifully.
Ottolenghi serves these chickpeas with thick toasted sourdough toast, poached eggs and a sprinkling za’atar for a luxurious breakfast but I prefer to serve them with flat bread and a dollop of yoghurt for a breakfast, lunch, dinner or anytime meal. Add some tzatziki, babaganoush, salad and some slices of grilled haloumi and you have a dinner party worthy feast.
Slow cooked chickpeas
Adapted from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
- 220 grams (1/2 pound) medium-sized dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in plenty of water with 2 teaspoons of bicarb soda (baking soda)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped (140grams)
- 3 garlic cloves crushed in 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 medium red peppers, cut into small 0.5 cm dice (180 grams)
- 1 large beef tomato or 3 Roma tomatoes (300 grams) peeled and roughly chopped
- Extra oil to finish (optional)
- Drain the chickpeas and rinse well. Place in large saucepan with plenty of water, bring to a boil over a high heat. Boil for five minutes and skim surface of foam. Drain and set aside.
- Place oil, onion, garlic, tomato puree, cayenne and paprika and red pepper in food processor with some black pepper and process to form a paste.
- Wipe out saucepan return to the stove on medium heat and add paste. Cook paste down until it begins to sizzle and fry for about five minutes, stirring occasionally ( there is enough oil in the paste for this)
- Add chopped tomato, sugar, chickpeas and about 200mls of water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook on a very low heat stirring occasionally and adding more water to keep a sauce around the chickpeas.. This sauce is very thick so make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the saucepan. Simmer gently for four hours, then remove lid and cook for another hour, so the sauce thickens but the chickpeas do not become dry.
- Allow to cool slightly and drizzle some extra oil over the top before serving. Eat with plenty of flat bread, a dollop of yoghurt.