Archive for July 2009

Spicy chickpeas – for Netta

The humble chick pea was once a staple of the diet of the Jews of Andalucia. They appeared sweetened, spiced, in stews and with poultry and beef dishes. Nowadays in Spain, it’s a rarity to see chickpeas in a Spanish restaurant, for that you have to go to the Moroccan places, but this is a quick, easy dish that can be spiced in a variety of ways.

One of my favourite ways to make this more of a main dish rather than a snack you can wolf down, is to add three ingredients that weren’t available in 12th century Spain – tomatoes, chillies and potatoes – but given that when these things did arrive in Spain with the conquistadors, it was the Jews who marked them around Europe. So feel free to add them. This recipe is just for the spiced chick peas, eat them hot, eat them cold, add a dollop of yoghurt and some pitta bread and be happy.

Drain a can or jar of chick peas well and rinse with some hot water. Leave in a colander to drain for as long as possible so that they aren’t wet when you put them in the hot pan. They can shoot you in the eye of you’re not careful!

Choose your spices: cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, chilli, powdered ginger, cardamom, all work very well. If you are going to use chilli, add a fresh one, finely chopped, if you like the heat. Add your spices, small amounts of each one, to the hot oil and shake the pan so that they disperse through the oil. When the aroma fills the kitchen, add two finely chopped cloves of garlic, half an onion and a good pinch of sea salt. Cook the garlic and onions until soft.

Add your chickpeas and stir until they are all well coated with the spices and onions. Squeeze half a lemon over them and continue to stir. All you are doing is heating the chickpeas through and making sure they are well spiced. It only takes a few minutes.

Pile onto a serving dish or a bowl and sprinkle with chopped parsley or coriander leaves, whichever you prefer. Serve with yoghurt and pitta.


Add a comment July 30, 2009

Sephardi Chicken

This recipe may have a proper name, but in our family it has always been known as Sephardi Chicken and has traditionally been served up at Pesach, even though it contains rice – which is ok if you are Sephardi. It has been a few years now since we had Sephardi Chicken at Pesach, but thinking about it now, I am going to put it on the menu next year.

Chick peas were brought to Spain by the Moors and if one looks at Jewish recipes from the 11th century, the chick pea was a popular ingredient to use. It is a rarity now these days to find chick peas in a Spanish restaurant, but the shops are full of them.

The dish is baked in the oven, so depending on how many you are making it for, you will need a susbtantial sized casserole dish. This recipe is for four people and the cup sizes used are American. You will need chicken breasts on the bone, one red pepper (quartered), one yellow pepper (quartered), half a lemon, an onion (finely chopped), 3-4 cloves of garlic (chopped), 1 quarter cup of white wine, 1 hot red chile pepper, one tin of chickpeas, one sachet of saffron threads or good quality saffron powder, 1 cup rice (basmati), enough chicken stock and large bunch of finely chopped cilantro.

Fry the chicken breasts quickly in olive oil, you just want to brown them up a little, add several grinds of pepper. Transfer to a plate. Now fry up your onion, garlic and chile pepper until the onion has softened. Add the quarters of red and yellow peppers and the chick peas and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Throw in the wine and stir once or twice.

Put the chicken breasts in your casserole dish and pour over the onion/red pepper/chick pea mixture and spread it about. Mix the chicken stock with the saffron and stir well. Add the uncooked rice, and pour the stock over the contents of the casserole. Slice the lemon and tuck the slices into the casserole contents. Make sure the rice is evenly distributed.

Cook in a fairly hot oven for about 20 minutes, checking if more stock is needed. Take out after 20 minutes and with a large slotted spoon, stir the rice to make sure it’s not sticking. Return to the oven with or without more liquid and cook until chicken is done, around 35-45 minutes depending on the size of the chicken.

When you serve make sure each person gets a slice of red and yellow pepper. Dust the plates with the chopped cilantro and enjoy.

1 comment July 17, 2009






July 2009
« Jun   Oct »

Posts by Month

Posts by Category