This is a recipe I started making regularly in 2019, because it's kind of an addictive snack but also a really great healthy protein to add to the salad I would bring to work or really any quick meal.
I learned this method of adding a freshly cooked very hot food to raw garlic and olive oil in Italy when I was having dinner at a friend's home in Perugia. My friend's mother had prepared the most delicious grilled zucchini, so of course I couldn't go home without knowing her secret. She explained that she grilled the zucchini dry (no oil at all, just salt) and after she pulled them from the grill they went straight into a bowl of olive oil and garlic. She topped them with parsley and I honestly thought they were the most delicious grilled vegetables I'd ever had. I always remembered her method and I would use it every time I grilled a vegetable. One day in 2019, I got smart and applied the method to chickpeas, and it might be the best thing I've ever done.
This cooking method is great because it takes advantage of residual heat beautifully. The residual heat is high enough that it will perfectly infuse the garlic flavor into the olive oil and the food you intend to marinate, but it's a low enough heat that it won't denature your olive oil, so don't lose any aroma or flavor from the oil.
Best Ever Chickpeas and Chickpea Stock Recipe
Makes 6 cups of cooked chickpeas and 2qts of chickpea broth
Cooking time: 45 min - 2 hours, depending on method
1lb Chickpeas (dry)
2 qts water
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
3T extra virgin olive oil
In a container with enough room for them to double in size, add 1lb of chickpeas, 2 big pinches of salt and fill with water to about double the height of the chickpeas. Give it a little stir to disperse the salt. Let them soak overnight. The next day, drain out the soaking liquid. The water is salty; so don’t give it to a plant unless you want to kill it.
If you have a slow cooker, add your soaked chickpeas, 2 qts of water, and three big pinches of salt to the slow cooker basin and set it to cook for one hour. When your cooker reads that it has 15 minutes left, open it up safely and check the chickpeas for doneness. My chickpeas take 45 minutes to cook, but my slow cooker won’t allow me to set a time less than 2 hours, so this is my method.
If you’re cooking them on the stove, add your chickpeas, 2 qts of water, and two big pinches of salt to a large pot and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce to a simmer (medium low heat) and leave them to cook for about 2 hours. You will need to replenish the water from time to time, as it evaporates. Stir them occasionally.
In a large bowl OR the container you’ll use to store these guys in the fridge, add your smashed garlic, olive oil, and a big pinch of salt. This bowl can hang out until the chickpeas are cooked.
Once the chickpeas are cooked to your desired doneness, use a slotted spoon to fish them out of their cooking liquid and put them directly in the bowl of garlic and oil. It’s very important that they go in the bowl HOT because the heat from the chickpeas will warm the garlic and oil and infuse the garlic flavor into the oil and chickpeas. Once all your chickpeas are in the bowl, gently stir to coat with the garlicy oil. Leave them covered with a kitchen towel or Tupperware lid to steam a bit in their own heat. In about 30 minutes, taste them and add salt if needed. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a week.
Reserve your chickpea cooking liquid for soup! Once it cools, store it in quart containers.
To serve, spoon into: a green salad, a grain salad, pasta salad, soup or stew. Eat them with soft-boiled eggs and really good toasted bread. Add them to shakshuka. (I really like them with eggs). Add them to sautéed or braised greens. Make a “protein bowl” with cucumbers, crunchy veg, hard-boiled eggs over a swoosh of yogurt. Use as a base for a chickpea faux tuna salad sandwich. Or just eat them by the spoonful from time to time when you get hungry, which is what I do every day.