As a child, I was a chickpea-hater. My epiphany occurred after I moved to California, at a potluck and was brought about by an Indian chickpea dish. Something made me try it even though I had always disliked chickpeas and my taste buds (papille gustative) converted on the spot.
Making hummus and this dish helped me to get comfortable with preparing chickpeas. As in the case of beans, I weaned myself off cans. In the evening, I put the chickpeas into their soaking bath and the following day I cook them according to this recipe by Deborah Madison. I use the optional kombu, which I am able to find locally harvested. I check the chickpeas half an hour after the simmering started to estimate how much longer they need to cook. Also, I don't salt them until I use them in a dish. Once done, I let the chickpeas cool in the pan. If I don't use them right away, once cooled, I remove the aromatics and pour the contents of the pan into a container that I then refrigerate until needed.
Please, read Madison's recipe until the last sentence, which states: "Strain, reserving the delicious broth for soup stock." That is what I do, because the broth is indeed quite delicious. Also, remember that, whatever your preferred method, you can cook more legumes than you need and freeze the extra, so that they are like canned ones: ready to be used.
Every time I make pollo con picada catalana (chicken with Catalan picada), I end up with some leftover sauce, which I have used in various settings: over polenta, with eggs, with beans (fagioli), and most recently with ceci (chickpeas).
I never thought about removing the skin from chickpeas until I read this post from Ivy of Kopiaste. The last few times I made chickpeas, I removed a lot of the skins, which was actually easy as they separated from the beans on their own accord, so I simply retrieved them from the broth. I drained the cooled chickpeas (reserving the broth for future use, as explained above), and added some picada sauce, then warmed up in the microwave and finally tossed well. The sauce is intensely flavored, so a little goes a long way. I like to serve these ceci with some polenta, or accompany them with some of my homemade bread and cheese.
I presented a dish made with chickpeas, dried apricots and tomatoes for the very first edition of My Legume Love Affair, three years ago. The current recipe is a way of creatively using leftovers. However, it supports the fact that the combination of chickpeas and tomatoes is great. The chickpeas I have been cooking recently come from the bag I got as part of the package from Hurst Beans I won a few months ago in the MLLA monthly drawing1. Thank you!
This is my submission for My Legume Love Affair 33, the current edition of the popular, legume-centered event created by Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook, and hosted this month by Dee of Ammalu's Kitchen.
This post has the roundup of the event.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post
or launch the ceci con picada catalana audio file [mp3].
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1 This is not an advertisement. I do not have any business relationship with the company referenced.