Anyway, here we are. You’ve read the news. You don’t need me to tell you anything. You don’t need me to talk about “the new normal”. God, I hate that phrase. You don’t need me to ask how you’ve been doing. Someone’s asked already, everyone has.
I know. You’ve made banana bread. You’re thinking about tackling sourdough. You keep changing your Zoom background, look, haha, it’s a beach. You’re being gentle with yourself, you’re trying not to judge. But fine, OK, for the sake of honesty, you’re judging the person who wrote #quarantini (so am I).
Leaving the house is terrifying, or thrilling, or not that bad. Thinking about the future is terrifying, or thrilling, or you don’t do it at all.
And that’s all there is to say, so let’s make confit.
When you think of confit you probably think of garlic, or duck, or even chicken. Those are well and good, but confit-ing is actually a method more than a recipe- it’s cooking something in fat for a long time at a low temperature, which has the effect of bringing about a very luxurious consistency and fully developed flavor.
I love confit-ing, and it is particularly spectacular when applied to chickpeas. Cooked in olive oil, flavored with savory hawaij, they take on a melt-in-your-mouth texture and become the kind of thing you want to scoop up with flatbread, eat over rice, or spoon over lamb. The alliums add subtle sweetness, the lemons turn caramelized (you can eat them- in fact, you should) and the whole thing is deeply rich, yet, somehow, also light as air.
I’ve been making it weekly (bi-weekly?) and best of all, you can make it with canned chickpeas, which, if you’re like a lot of people, you stocked your pantry full of a weeks ago, so, if it’s terrifying, or thrilling, or not that bad, you don’t even need to leave the house.
Why I love this recipe: confit-ing the chickpeas turns them luxuriously soft and the paprika and hawaij add bright, savory flavor.
Variations: use one onion instead of the shallots. Reduce the garlic. Substitute rosemary or cilantro for the parsley. Add a teaspoon of saffron.
For the confit:
- 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 3/4-2 cups good olive oil (enough to just cover the chickpeas)
- 1 lemon, halved
- 2 shallots, peeled and quartered
- 6-8 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 handful parsley
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon hawaij for soup
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Sumac, for topping
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Add the chickpeas to a baking dish and cover with the oil. Squeeze one half of the lemon over the mixture. Slice the other half into thin rounds and add to the dish,
- Add the shallots and garlic cloves. Add the herbs. Top with the spices. Mix to combine. Cover with a piece of foil and bake for 35 minutes.
- Turn the heat up to 425°F and remove the foil cover. Bake for another 20-25 minutes, until the oil is bubbling, the chickpeas are browned and the lemons have caramelized.
- Remove from the oven and let cool. Sprinkle with sumac. Serve with bread, rice, hummus and dips, or over ground lamb with hummus.