I had some leftover roast pork and started to cook a stew with chickpeas. I’ve cooked this kind of dish lots of times and went to check my recipe post …but there was nothing! I thought I’d better write one, so if nothing else, I can look it up the next time.
I’m a big fan of beans and pulses. Chickpeas (also known as garbanzos) are one of my favourites. Chickpeas are an Old World pulse, farmed as long ago as 3500 BC in Greece, Jericho and Turkey. Traces of wild (gathered) chickpeas have been found in French caves dating back to 6790 BC (give or take 90 years either way). Garbanzos can be dried and stored for months (if not years). They can be rehydrated and used in cooking or ground into a flour. Chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus, falafel, farinata, the batter for pakora and as an important addition to many salads, soups and stews throughout the Mediterranean, Africa, India and Asia.
To reconstitute dried chickpeas they must be soaked overnight and cooked the next day for up to an hour depending on size and age. To speed the process up, garbanzos can be soaked in boiling water for an hour and cooked in a pressure cooker for 25 minutes. Chickpeas are available, ready to eat or cook with, in cans and jars, though I find these to be a little waterlogged and of course, they contain preservatives.
Pork and Chickpea Stew recipe (serves 2 – 3)
1lb leftover roast pork (cubed)
3 slices streaky bacon (chopped)
1 large onion (chopped)
6 pieces garlic (finely chopped)
5 medium tomatoes (grated)
1 large carrot (chopped)
2 sticks celery (chopped)
9 close capped mushrooms (chopped)
1lb chickpeas (pre-prepared)
1 pint stock (pork or chicken)
a splash or two of sherry vinegar (to taste)
1 dessertspoon tomato purée
a squirt anchovy paste
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon pimentón de la Vera picante
1/2 teaspoon pimentón de la Vera dulce
1 level teaspoon cumin seeds, a pinch of sea salt and 6 black peppercorns ground with a mortar and pestle (warm the cumin in a frying pan before grinding)
a pinch ground chilli
extra virgin olive oil
Fry the onion in a generous splash of extra virgin olive oil. Add the bacon when the onion turns translucent, along with a pinch of ground chilli. Stir in the carrot, celery and garlic, when the streaky has taken some colour. Mix the mushrooms in next, cut the tomatoes in half and grate the wet side into the dish – you should be left with flat disks of tomato skin which can be discarded or used in stock.
All the remaining ingredients can go in now – dryer ones first and liquids last. Give it a good stir, bring to a simmer and cover with a lid or foil. Cook on top of the stove, at a low setting, for about an hour, with a little agitation at 20 minute intervals so it doesn’t stick.
Check the seasoning, then cook uncovered for a final 20 – 30 minutes to allow the liquid to reduce and thicken.
Serve with rice or mashed potato and a glass of Spanish red wine, such as Els Vinyerons Saltamartí Negre.