Chickpeas, versatile, protein-rich legumes, have been a Middle Eastern staple for thousands of years. Author Habeeb Salloum's mother grew them in her prairie garden in Saskatchewan, and he, enamored of the cooking of his childhood, created this dish for his children, identical twin girls Muna and Leila and son Raji, when they lived in Toronto.
Yield: serves 6
- 2 cups dried chickpeas
- <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
- 1 small red chile, stemmed and finely chopped
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
- 3 medium tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh basil
- <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> tsp. chopped fresh tarragon
- <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> bunch fresh parsley, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Put chickpeas in a medium bowl and add enough cold water to cover by 2''. Set aside to soak for at least 4 hours, or overnight, then drain.
- Place chickpeas in a medium pot, add enough cold water to cover by 3'', and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until chickpeas are tender, about 1 1⁄2 hours. Drain and set aside.
- Heat oil in a heavy medium pot over medium heat. Add bell peppers, chiles, onions, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, tarragon, half the parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add chickpeas and simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings and serve hot or cold, sprinkled with remaining parsley.
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