It’s cold, misty with snowy sleet outside and a soft icy wind that fools you for a couple of minutes before you wished you’d brought your gloves. Our little fireplace isn’t high enough to cook on in the traditional Abruzzese style, but the idea of some slow cooked beans or pulses for supper to accompany the walnut bread that our baker van surprised me with today seems like the perfect option. A won’t be able to make use of the terrace, it’s going to be our first day homebound for what seems months, so I need something that can be left on its own to bubble away whilst I entertain.
Black chickpeas… unless you’ve travelled extensively in Puglia and Bari where they’re famous you probably wouldn’t know they existed, we never did. They have a higher iron content than the white ones and were initially used as livestock feed as well as fed to nursing mothers. Our dried fruit, nut and legume man at our local market began stocking them so we thought why not give them a go. They’re a Goth’s heaven for making delicious black flecked falafel which was the first dish we experimented with. They’re smaller, nuttier and smoother than their super-size me white-boy cousins. Someone described them like eating velvet and great for using in pastes such is their consistency.
Preferring Greek cooking styles on the bean front I had a look and discovered Revithia, slow baked chickpeas that cook for 4 hours with a little olive oil, an onion, a bay leaf and water, resting for 1 hour afterwards.
The idea of 4 hours of cooking heat in addition to central heating was enticing enough to give it a try. They work like a dream, now you’ve just got to find them locally…