Slow-Cooked Chickpeas on Toast with Poached Eggs
Chef Yotam Ottolenghi explains that this recipe of his was tested by skeptics who couldn’t understand how you could justify spending 5 hours cooking beans on toast when a variation on the theme can be made in 15 minutes or less. The results, however, won over his testers, perhaps because the chickpeas are impossibly soft and yielding and the flavor is rich and deep in a way that only slow cooking can bring about.
- 1 rounded cup (7 oz./220 g) dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water to cover mixed with 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 1/2 tsp. tomato paste
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) dice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 beefsteak tomato, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 tsp. superfine sugar
- 4 slices sourdough bread, brushed with olive oil and toasted on both sides
- 4 Poached Eggs
- 2 tsp. zahtar
Drain and rinse the chickpeas and place them in a large saucepan with plenty of water. Place over high heat, bring to a boil, skim the surface and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a food processor, combine 1 Tbs. of the olive oil, the onion, garlic, tomato paste, cayenne, paprika, bell peppers, 1 tsp. salt, and black pepper to taste and puree to form a paste.
Wipe out the saucepan used for the chickpeas, return it to the stove over medium heat and add the paste. Fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, before adding the tomato, sugar, chickpeas and a scant 1 cup (7 fl. oz./200 ml) water. Bring to a low simmer, cover the pan and cook over very low heat for 4 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more water when needed to maintain a sauce-like consistency. Remove the lid and cook 1 hour more; you want the sauce to thicken without the chickpeas becoming dry.
Place a piece of warm toast on each plate and spoon the chickpeas on top. Arrange a poached egg on top, followed by a sprinkle of zahtar and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi, by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ten Speed Press, 2014).