Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Chickpeas in the Oven

Madeline Pizzo cooked this recipe first last year. It tastes great, and smells, in the oven, a little like roast chicken (to people who haven't eaten Roast Chicken in a while!) It's great on its own anyway, and makes a realy nice hummus-style dip the the next day, if there are any leftovers.

A warning note: All measures are approximate. The recipe for this I read gave measurements in weight, we don't have scales, so I've worked it out as I went along. The quantities I've included are approximate, and use less olive oil than the original recipe.

Chickpeas in the oven
First, rinse the quantity of chickpeas you want to cook, and soak your chickpeas overnight. They will expand greatly! Make sure you have room in the pot for them to grow.

The next day, rinse them, put in fresh cold water, bring to the boil (do not stir them at this time or add salt). Reduce heat to a simmer and skim the foam off the top.

When most of the foam is gone, add a Tablespoon of oregano for each litre of chickpeas (a litre is 10cm*10cm*10cm) and simmer for an hour. Drain, reserving the oregano liquid.

Dice one medium onion for each litre of chickpeas, and 2 cloves of garlic, and 1/8t of chilli flakes. Saute the onion until translucent in 1/4 cup of olive oil (per litre). Yes this is a lot of oil! You can use even more.

When the onions are barely cooked, add the garlic and chile. Turn off the heat, and add the chickpeas, mix well, add 1 Tablespoon oregano and a pinch of salt for each litre of chickpeas.

Put in an oven proof casserole (or baking tray - at least 1 inch - 2.5cm deep). Add enough of the reserved liquid so it nestles round the chickpeas.

Cover with foil, or a lid, and bake for as long as you can. At least 1 hour, better 1 1/2 hours or even 2. Add more of the reserved boiling liquid if the chickpeas start to dry out.

They may fall apart, if they don't , gently mash a few with a potato masher to make a thicker sauce - so you get whole chickpeas, and some a bit squished.

Serve with brown rice, green salad, and red tomatos, with a sprinkling of parsley. Some people like a squeeze of fresh lemon too.

If you have leftovers, whizz them in a foodprocessor with a little boiling water and extra olive oil. The resulting hummus is good on its own. Opinions vary whether adding tahini is a good thing. I'd add around 1 heaped tablespoon per cup of cooked mixture).

If you boil extra chickpeas you can also make a really simple hummus. Blend the chickpeas with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and a little lemon. That's it!

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