It’s finally here. The chill we expect to arrive mid-September may be late, but it has come. The best part about the first weeks of cold is the slow, steady transition from fresh, summery nibbles to hearty, warming winter fare. While my mind and belly are not quite ready for heavy braises of winter, I welcome a quick, cozy stew to get me in the mood.
Enter Mina Stone’s spicy chickpea stew. The recipe is easy and painless, but has enough depth and complexity in its flavors that anyone could be tricked into believing you’d spent hours laboring over your stove. As with any stew, this continues to get tastier as the days pass, so make a big batch and revisit it every day or so for dinner. Zursun’s garbanzo beans are perfect for this dish. They’re smaller than the average bean and pack more flavor and a tender texture that is truly irresistible. I keep these well stocked in my pantry just for this recipe, but they’re also amazing for hummus or pasta e ceci.
Mina recommends serving with a dollop of plain yogurt, which is delicious, but I’ve found another source to create a creamy, thick texture. The tomato base has an uncanny resemblance to the base of shakshuka, so it felt almost necessary to stir in an egg yolk upon serving. Being that a yolk is chiefly fat, it melted into the tomato easily and created a thicker, creamier texture in seconds.
You’re in charge of stew, so add whatever your heart desires. But make it often, it’ll go perfectly with your favorite wool socks and over sized sweaters.
Mina Stone’s Spicy Chickpea Stew
- 16 ounces dried chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 jalapenos, finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Egg yolks or Greek yogurt, for serving
Soak the chickpeas in plenty of water overnight, or for at least 6 hours. When you are ready to make the stew, drain the chickpeas in a colander and rinse them well. Leaving them in the colander, dust the chickpeas with the baking soda (which serves as a tenderizer) and then toss them to incorporate the baking soda, using your hands. Let the chickpeas sit for 30 minutes and then rinse them very well, 3 or 4 times, in order to remove all the baking soda.
Place the chickpeas in large, heavy pot filled with enough water to barely cover them. Bring the chickpeas to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes. The chickpeas will start to give off a white froth. Skim this 2 or 3 times, and then don’t worry about it.
Cover and simmer until the chickpeas are very tender but not falling apart, about 30 to 40 more minutes. Meanwhile, generously drizzle some olive oil into a medium saute pan. Add the onions, garlic, and jalapeno to the pan. Saute over medium-high heat until everything is just starting to soften, about a minute or two. Add a generous pinch of salt and then add the bay leaves, cumin seeds, coriander, hot red pepper flakes, and chopped parsley. Saute the onion mixture until it is soft and aromatic, about 5 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and stir, cooking sauce for another 5 minutes.
When the chickpeas are done, remove enough of the cooking water so that the top layer of chickpeas is dry (think 2 inches of water below the chickpeas). Add the onion/tomato mixture to the chickpeas and give a good stir. There should be just enough liquid to barely cover the top of the chickpeas; add more water if necessary. Simmer for about 30 minutes so that all the ingredients meld together. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed. Serve with an egg yolk or a spoonful of Greek yogurt in every bowl.
Recipe adapted from Mina Stone: Cooking for Artists.