This is a traditional and home style chickpea recipe. A “grandmother” recipe that I have been making since I was little, (I use to make it with my mother when I was about 10-12.) in my opinion, this is a simple recipe suitable for kings! I am not sure if I have ever mentioned that my favorite dishes are the ones you eat with a spoon, and in particular the ones made with legumes, and to be even more specific, the dishes with chickpeas.
The chickpea or garbanzo bean (Cicer arietinum), is a type of legume from the Fabaceae family, very widely used in India and the Mediterranean. It is also known as the poor man’s meat for its nutritional values. It is rich in proteins, starch and lipids (a lot more than other legumes), especially in oleic and linoleic acids, which are unsaturated fats and have no cholesterol. They are also rich in fiber. Ok, so chickpeas are clearly one of the essential pillars of Mediterranean diet.
Before you cook the chickpeas:
- It is important that you choose the right chickpeas, you can find them dry or cooked, and they come in different sizes. I like the large chickpeas, or Castilian style, like we call them. These are big, round, and have a characteristic yellow tint. I recommend that you use the dry ones, since it is easier to control how much salt you add, (the canned ones tend to have added salt). I also prefer not to use chickpeas with preservatives.
- One day before cooking, soak the chickpeas in warm water with a teaspoon of bicarbonate soda or a tablespoon of salt, and leave to soak overnight (at least 12 hours). After soaking overnight, drain and rinse well to clean them. Also make sure there are no bad chickpeas, that may ruin your teeth (trust me, I’ve been there!)
- Drain them and set aside until it is time to start cooking.
- If you use canned chickpeas, drain well and rinse them getting rid of all the gelatin. These will be added at the end of the stew, just so they soak up all the flavors form the different ingredients. I have to admit that canned or jarred chickpeas will save you a lot of time, although I prefer to use them for a different type of dish, something like hummus or a salad.
Directions to prepare the Chickpea stew:
- Finely chop the onions, red pepper, and garlic, and finely slice the carrots. Add a splash of olive oil to a pot, and then add the onions, the carrots, the bay leaves, the red pepper, the garlic cloves, and the Spanish paprika. Stir and sauté for about 10 minutes to mix all the flavors.
- You can make this in the pressure cooker, like I normally do. The advantage to this is that the chickpeas are ready in about 15 minutes, but if you don’t have a pressure cooker, don’t worry, all you have to do is cover the chickpeas and the rest of ingredients in water, (the ratio of water to chickpeas is about 3 to 1), and boil for about an hour and a half, medium heat for the first half hour and low heat for an hour.
- Using a pressure cooker, add the vegetables, the chorizo sausage, chickpeas, the potatoes (cut into thick chunks), 1 quart of water, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, close the pressure cooker, and cook for about 15 minutes.
It is that simple! Don’t be afraid of the pressure cooker. Oh! And I forgot to say in the words of Mighty Mouse: Kids, remember to take your vitamins and minerals!
Tips and suggestions:
- If you are a vegetarian, you can make the same dish without the chorizo sausage. You can also add seaweed, which helps the chickpea cook faster and allows for better digestion.
- You can also make it tastier by adding about a quarter of a cup of rice.