This is a nice and simple recipe using one of my favourite store cupboard ingredients - chickpeas.
These are the spices I use when cooking this dish – it is a lengthy list and if you don’t have these to hand, you can use other spices that you have in the cupboard, feel free to be a bit inventive or to lean on your favourite spice mixes.
Serves 3 - 4
For the chickpeas
50ml olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small fennel bulb, diced
1 tsp fennel seeds1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp ground allspice
1 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 pinch of chilli flakes
4 garlic cloves, peeled
250g tinned or jarred piquillo peppers, or 3 red peppers roasted, peeled and deseeded
500g cooked chickpeas (home cooked, tinned or jarred), chickpea water reserved
1 tin whole peeled tomatoes
250g labneh, see recipe below (or yoghurt or goat’s curd)
A handful of parsley, chopped
A handful of coriander, chopped
For the labneh
1 litre of yoghurt
For the Labneh:
Labneh is basically a strained yoghurt, with a gorgeous, super-think consistency.
Tip the yoghurt into the centre of a clean muslin cloth or tea towel.
Bring the cloth together so that you have a pouch of yoghurt and tie up the pouch tightly.
Hang your parcel of yoghurt over a bowl, to catch any excess liquid, as your labneh drains. Placing the parcel in a sieve and resting it on large bowl also works well, as long as it remains above the drained liquid.
Leave it overnight or for as long as 24 hours, depending on how thick you want the labneh to be.
For the chickpeas:
Gently heat the oil in a large pot - with a lid - on a medium heat. Add the onion and fennel, put the lid on the pot, and sweat until the onion and fennel have softened and become translucent.
Toast the fennel, cumin and coriander seeds in a pan until the seeds begin to crack and pop. Let the spices cool, then blend to a paste, along with the rest of the spices, garlic and piquillo peppers or roasted red peppers.
Add the blended spices and peppers to the onions and fennel along with the tomatoes and chickpeas - including any chickpea water. Cook on a very low heat, until the sauce has thickened. This will take around 20-25 minutes.
Serve hot with a big spoonful of labneh and a liberal sprinkle of herbs on top.
Using yoghurt or a creamy cheese like goat’s curd are a lovely replacement if you haven’t made the labneh!