This is an Ottolenghi appetizer or first dish. Also, great snack – filling and covers all the food groups.
Contributor: Jeffrey Rosen
rounded 1 cup/220 g dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight with 2 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus 1 tbsp. to finish
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup/140 g)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 tsp. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
2 medium red peppers, cut into 1/4-inch/5-mm dice (about 1 1/4 cups/180 g)
1 beefsteak tomato, peeled and coarsely chopped (1 2/3 cups/300 g)
1/2 tsp. superfine sugar
4 slices sourdough bread, brushed with olive oil and grilled on both sides
4 eggs, freshly poached
2 tsp. za’atar
salt and black pepper
• Drain and rinse the chickpeas and place them in a large saucepan with plenty of water.
• Place over high heat, bring to a boil, skim the surface, and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
• Place the oil, onion, garlic, tomato paste, cayenne, paprika, red peppers, 1 teaspoon salt, and some black pepper in a food processor and blitz to form a paste.
• Wipe out the chickpea saucepan, return it to the stove over medium heat, and add the paste.
• Fry for 5 minutes (there’s enough oil there to allow for this), stirring occasionally, before adding the tomato, sugar, chickpeas, and a scant 1 cup/200 ml water.
• Bring to a low simmer, cover the pan, and cook over very low heat for 4 hours, stirring from time to time and adding more water when needed to retain a sauce-like consistency.
• Remove the lid and cook for a final hour: The sauce needs to thicken without the chickpeas becoming dry.
• Place a piece of warm grilled bread on each plate and spoon the chickpeas over the bread. (Be sure to buy very fresh crunchy bread, coat one side with olive oil and lightly grill.) Drizzle with olive oil.
• Lay a poached egg (See, David Chang Poached Egg recipe) on top, followed by a sprinkle of za’atar and a drizzle of oil.
• Serve at once.
For those of you not doing carbs, place cooked chickpeas in a small bowl with poached egg on top.
• Make the chickpea marinade/sauce the day before. Let it sit overnight. Making the chickpea dish takes the most amount of time – therefore, doing it the day before, helps. When it comes to cooking, you just need to stir from time to time, so cooking part easy.
• Initially, I was very skeptical about “5 hours’ cooking for beans on toast”. The result was so incredible and worth every minute. The chickpeas are impossibly soft and yielding, and the flavor is rich and deep in a way that only slow cooking can bring about. Huge crowd pleaser! Great flavors, hearty and warming.
• Notwithstanding the cooking time, it’s a very low-maintenance and highly comforting dish. It tastes fantastic the next day and the day after that, so you might want to double the quantities and keep a batch in the fridge. A spoonful of Greek yogurt can be served alongside each portion, if you like.
Ottolenghi, “Plenty More” cookbook, page 106