Saturday, June 8, 2013

Chickpeas Romesco

Chickpeas in Romesco Sauce
Back in the mid 1990’s, our family moved to Madrid, Spain for a year while my tasting partner was on sabbatical.  One of the most exciting aspects of that year was trying all the Spanish tapas and learning how to prepare them.  One of my favorite tapas, often served with toasted bread, was Romesco sauce - a tomato, nut and pepper based sauce from Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain.  I had not considered adding chickpeas to the sauce to make it a main course, served over rice, but when I saw this recipe in Veganomicon, I knew I had to try it.  The romesco sauce has that piquant taste that I remember from Spanish tapas bars, and my tasting partner said “delicioso” as he raised his glass of Rioja wine. 

recipe after the jump

Chickpeas Romesco  (adapted from Veganomicon)

serves 4

2 roasted red bell peppers (home made* or store bought)
½ cup sliced almonds
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
3 Tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 shallots, finely minced
1 Serrano chili, seeded and finely minced (leave some seeds if you desire more heat)
¼ cup white wine or vegetable broth
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper

Using a food processor, process the almonds into a very fine, almost powdery, grind or crumbs.  Empty into a small bowl and set aside.

Working in 2 or more batches, puree the tomatoes and roasted red peppers together until smooth.  Set aside.

Preheat a heavy bottom frying pan over medium heat.  sauté the garlic, shallots and chili in oil until the shallots are turning golden, 4-5 minutes.  Pour in the white wine (or vegetable broth is using) and stir to dissolve any browned bits of garlic from the bottom of the pan; simmer for 1 minute. 

Add the tomato and red pepper puree, the vinegar, sugar, thyme and rosemary to the pan.  Turn heat to medium high and bring o a near boil.  Lower the heat to medium low and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the ground almonds to the pan and stir the mixture until they are completely combined.  Fold in the chickpeas and simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, until the sauce is slightly reduced and the chickpeas are very tender.  Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Serve over brown rice.

Roasted Red Peppers*

Preheat oven to 425*

2 red peppers
Olive oil
Paper or plastic bag

Cut red peppers in half lengthwise and remove stem seeds and ribs.  Coat lightly with olive oil and place cut side down, on lightly greased baking sheet.

Roast for 20-30 minutes, until skin is dark brown in spots.

I remove the skin from red peppers.  An easy way to do this is to place cooked red peppers in either a paper or plastic bag, and close tightly.  The peppers will steam in the closed bag and the skin will peel away easily.  Wait about 30 minutes before removing the skin from the cooled peppers.

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