You know those brown chickpeas with their skins still on that you get in curries sometimes? Get involved. They're well nice. They need to be soaked overnight in boiling water and will then cook in about half an hour. No need to mess around with bicarb of soda or anything. Just a minute's prep the night before and then thirty minutes on the hob while you get everything else ready. I still have canned chickpeas in the cupboard for impromptu salads etc. but the texture of these dark chickpeas makes them well worth a go if you have time to plan. They seem hard and under-cooked in their jackets but when bitten into are delightfully earthy - initially resistant but ultimately giving.
This is one of those simple assemblages that makes a lot of sense on an inclement mid-week evening.
- lots of chick peas
- a third - a half that amount in pumpkin/squash
- a third that amount of onions
- a few nice ripe tomatoes
- a block of feta
- preserved lemons
- olive oil, cumin, chilli flakes, garlic
Soak your chickpeas over night. Put them on to boil on a moderate heat. After twenty minutes check their progress and add chunks of pumpkin/squash.
Chop lots of garlic and fry in plenty of olive oil with cumin and chilli. This is my Turkish holy trinity of flavours which you can use all over the shop to flavour soups, salads and stews. Add the onions in slices and cook these down on a medium heat. They are a key ingredient here, not just background mulch, so make sure they are good and soft.
Meantime mash and thin the feta with a little olive oil and a drop of cream (or water if you have none to hand) in a bowl. Add plenty of black pepper and some rinsed preserved lemon sliced thinly. Mash until you have a thick paste - this is the taste bomb necessary to perk the mash beneath it - salt, sheep, adult/child lemon sherbet. Herbs such as thyme and rosemary would also work well.
When the chickpeas are done put them in with the onions and a a few ripe chopped tomatoes. Cook this all for five minutes to relax it and so the tomatoes break down to make a sauce. No need for salt as the feta will supply this. Serve with a dollop of creamed feta on top and some red wine or Turkish beer.