I started soaking chickpeas for North African Chickpea Stew a good 3 days before I actually got around to making it. Clearly that was not the original plan — life intervened — but it all worked out fine, anyway. You can just stick a whole pot of soaking beans into the fridge and they’ll keep for a couple of days. It’s a good thing, because after getting bumped two days in a row, this made a great Sunday supper!
This is yet another great way to use chard, which I am convinced is the best vegetable ever. Well, cauliflower is in the running, too. So, this brings me to a question: Do you have a favorite vegetable? What’s the best way to use it?
Anyway, back to the topic at hand! Try the stew, it’s good. The Greek yogurt is a must — it makes the whole thing.
1 cup dried chickpeas
1 tsp salt
1 bunch chard
2 Tbs olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 Tbs cilantro leaves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped*
2 chiles de arbol or other small dried chiles, left whole
zest of one lemon
Greek yogurt for serving
Cover the chickpeas with at least 2 inches of water and soak overnight (or at least 4 hours). Drain the soaking water, fill with new water, and bring to a rapid boil. Boil for 10 minutes and then skim off any foam. Lower the heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until almost tender. Add salt and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes, or until the chickpeas are tender, but not mushy. Scoop the chickpeas out with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl; set aside.
Meanwhile, separate the chard leaves from the stems. Chop the stems and roughly tear the leaves. In the same water as you cooked the beans, blanch the chard until it is wilted. Drain, reserving at least 2 cups of the cooking liquid. Chop the chard finely.
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and dried chiles and cook until softened. Add the garlic, paprika, pepper, cumin, turmeric, and cilantro, along with the cooked chickpeas and about a cup of the reserved broth. Cook until the onion is very soft, a couple of minutes more. Add salt to taste, and if you think it is too dry, add a bit more of the reserved broth. Simmer for a few minutes longer, then finish with lemon zest.
Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
* You can just use raw chopped pepper if you want. I have a weird thing about sweet peppers, though, and I don’t like them unless they’re roasted.