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Crispy Chickpeas and Meat

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    Posted: 18 November 2017 at 09:23
Let’s start with a proviso: I have, for various reasons, never been a big fan of Mark Bittman. In fact, I could never understand why he catapulted to fame the way he did. Still and all, when I saw this recipe it got the juices flowing. It could, I reasoned, with a little modification, be a great North African/Mid-Eastern type dish.

Here’s Bittman’s original:

Crispy Chickpeas with Ground Meat

½ to 1 lb ground beef or other meat
4 cups cooked chickpeas (about 1 28-oz can), drained (reserve 1 cup liquid)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 ancho or chipotle chili, soaked, stemmed, seeded, and minced; or 1 tsp ground chili powder
2 tsp minced garlic
Salt & Pepper
1 tbls extra virgin olive oil
Minced cilantro or parsley for garnish (optional)

Turn heat to high under a large, deep skillet, and add meat a little at a time, breaking it into small pieces as you do. Stir and break up meat a bit more, then add chickpeas. Keep heat high and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until chickpeas begin to brown and pop, 5-10 minutes. Don’t worry if mixture sticks a bit, but if it begins to scorch, lower heat slightly.

Add cumin, chili or chili powder and garlic. Cook, stirring, for about a minutes. Add reserved cooking liquid, and stir, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits. Season with salt and pepper, then turn heat to medium low. Continue to cook until mixture is no longer soupy but not dry.

Stir in olive oil, then taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary. Garnish if you like and serve immediately, with rice or pita bread.

My initial thought was that, despite the cumin and chili, the dish would lack real depth of flavor. And, of course, it cries out for lamb instead of beef. So decided to use ground lamb, and take it in a North African direction.

I don’t know about beef. But lamb throws off a lot of liquid, and if you can boil that away, getting down to clear oil, in just five minutes you’re stove burns a lot hotter than mine. It was ten minutes to eliminate the liquid, and almost another five for the chickpeas to brown up.

I also don’t understand the phrase “(about 1 28-oz can).” I mean, if you measure it, and get 4 ¼ cups, are you going to throw out the balance? Just use the whole can and be done. In my case, I used two 1-pint jars of home-canned chickpeas.

When you drain them, there might not be a full cup of liquid. In that case, I would extend it with stock rather than plain water.

While pita works fine if you’re going to eat this in the North African/Mid-Eastern style, I can think of half a dozen flat breads that would work better. Lavash, Manaaeesh and Fatir come immediately to mind

Brook’s Adaptation

1 lb ground lamb
4 cups cooked chickpeas, drained, reserving 1 cup liquid.
2-3 garlic cloves
2 tsp Ras el Hanout
6-8 black peppercorns
1 tsp ground Aleppo pepper or to taste
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup chopped parsley
1-2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, salt, Ras el Hanout, and Aleppo into a paste. Set aside.

Follow above directions for cooking the lamb. I use two small spatulas to help break it up as it cooks. When the meat is gray, add the chickpeas, stirring occasionally, until excess liquid boils off and chickpeas brown and pop in remaining oil, 10-15 minutes.

Add the seasoning paste, and cook for a minute or so, tossing to distribute the spices evenly. Add the reserved liquid, turn the heat to medium, and continue cooking until the mixture is moist but not soupy. This will only take a few minutes. Stir in the olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Mix in the chopped parsley and serve.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 November 2017 at 11:01

Like your versión !!  Absolutely extraordinary ..  

Easy for me to get Moroccan ingredients at the Central Market and of course they have Ras el Hanout in a barrel ..   We are chickpea growers, so no problem.

Lamb is in season too ..  So, this is on the Bucket List .. 

Have a lovely  Thanksgiving !!!  
Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.
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