Cooking With Chickpeas

Chickpeas are delicious in stews and salads or simply tossed with good quality extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbs.   Or treat yourself to homemade hummus.  The large, creamy-coloured Kabuli variety is renowned for its wonderful nutty, smooth flavour.

To prepare, soak dried chickpeas overnight in at least twice their volume of cold water.  50g of dried chickpeas will produce a cooked serving size of 115g. Drain and check them, removing any grit and little stones. Put the chickpeas in a saucepan with twice the volume of fresh cold water, bring to the boil and simmer very gently until tender - approximately one hour. Do not add salt until cooked. If using them cold, leave them to cool in the cooking water before draining so they don’t dry out. It is not necessary to remove the opaque outer skin that is loosened in cooking and sometimes float to the surface.   However, if you’re making hummus and you’ve got the patience, slipping them off will reward with an impressively smooth result.  For quicker removal, try gently rubbing the skins off the cooked chickpeas in a tea towel, as you would for removing the skins off hazelnuts. Cooked chickpeas freeze well in their cooking water.  I  keep a stock of them in the freezer in little sandwich bags or small plastic containers so I can add them to a soup or a salad at short notice.

I always dress them with a good extra virgin olive oil as soon as they are cooked and drained and while they are still warm.  The heat from the lentils will release the aromas of the oil and that will bring even more delicious flavour to your food.  Dee Nolan

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