crispy roasted chickpeas
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Chickpeas are funny little things - they look nothing like peas to start with but more like little nuts. Why aren’t they called chicknuts?
If you look up alternative, historical or other language version names, it’s really confusing: garbanzo (Spanish), Indian pea, ceci bean, Bengal gram (India), cicer (Latin), hummus (Hebrew), hamaz (Arabic), nohut (Turkish), shimbra (Ethiopia), pois chiche (French), grão de bico, gravanço, ervanço (Portuguese), mdengu (Swahili). Blimey. Not one looks much like another thing.
If you expect to find a recipe for hummus or falafel, think again, however lovely dishes they are. Chickpeas will jump nicely into a curry, too, or a stew or a soup. Gram flour can be used in breads although my experience with a gram-based sourdough was not, shall we say, a stonking success.
This take on them is different – I’ll keep them whole and I’ll make them crispy rather than saucy. This recipe uses home charred and skinned peppers, but if it’s too much, use the ones ready skinned sold in jars, just make sure they’re not vinegary.
Make sure you use organic chickpeas – it makes a world of a difference.
- a tin of chickpeas per person (for a main course, half that for a starter)
- Unlike lentils though which benefit from being cooked from dry, tinned chickpeas are perfectly good in my view
- one large red pepper
- one large red chilli
- a handful of cup mushrooms, sliced
- a few spring onions, chopped finely
- a chunk of blue cheese (optional)
- a knob of butter
- a good handful of grated parmesan
- a small bunch of coriander
- smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic granules*
- *I’m using granules rather than fresh garlic so that the chickpeas are coated in lots of dry spices
First prepare the pepper and chilli, put both, whole, under the grill and roast until well charred. Put them into a plastic bag for a few minutes –that will loosen the skin up and make it really easy to peel them. Peel, deseed and dice them – chilli much finer than the pepper.
In a dry pan roast the sliced mushrooms until scorched. It’s not necessary to add fat – they’ll absorb more flavour later in the dish if roasted dry.
Drain the chickpeas and rinse them well. Butter a gratin dish, put the chickpeas in and add all the other ingredients save the parmesan. Mix well, tuck in a few dots of butter and sprinkle with a third of the parmesan.
Bake in the preheated oven (200C/400F/gas 6) for about 45 minutes, stirring and adding more parmesan on top every 15 minutes. Serve with green salad.