Saturday, October 22, 2011

Middle Eastern Style Tomato Chickpeas

Chickpea in the city
I love saucy chickpeas and beans.  From late night munchies at local middle eastern joint Ghazale to the delicious, saucy broad beans I had for breakfast in Istanbul, to my grandmother's Pasta e fagioli.
This dish was my attempt to finally capture the essence of the oily, long stewed beans you dip crusty bread into, or savour over rice.  I think I nailed it.

I took an onion, half a carrot and red/green/yellow pepper and sauteed them in a healthy glug of olive oil with some fennel and cumin seeds and some cayenne until they were soft and fragrant.  
Then I added in half a jar of loose tomato puree (conserva to my fellow wops) and two cloves of chopped garlic.  Following that, I patiently boiled the bejeezus out of the mixture for probably half an hour on medium high heat until it started to thicken and get slightly dark. I removed half of the mixture and pureed it with my stick blender and returned it to the pot, then added about two cups of chickpeas.  I seasoned it with salt and pepper and cooked it a little longer, and voila!  Delicieux!  

     Fall can be dreary, so here's some inspiration: during trying times, with lots of illness in the family my elderly grandmother still found time to garden this spring, and to share some of the bounty with me when I visited.  She grew, shucked and froze 27(!) little packets of her own beans for the winter.  That is one self-sufficient lady! <3