Prep 6 hrs
Cook 1 hr 35 mins
Americans would eat this beautiful spread of chickpeas with condiments at dinner. But in Tunisia, it’s a traditional breakfast dish: a simple bowl of chickpeas flavored with onion, garlic, harissa and olive oil, served with a number of garnishes. It would certainly get you through the day. The finished soup will taste great for another three to four days. Keep in the refrigerator. You will want to refresh the condiments each time you serve. You can make a salad with the leftover beans. Don't let the long list of ingredients fool you - most of them are optional garnishes.
For the stew
- 1 lb chickpeas (washed, picked over and soaked in 2 quarts water for six hours or overnight)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, green shoots removed, minced
- 1 tablespoon cumin seed, lightly toasted and ground
- 2 tablespoons harissa, to taste (or if harissa is not available, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (more to taste)
Garnishes (choice of)
- lemon wedges or preserved lemon wedge
- coarse sea salt or kosher salt
- chopped fresh tomato
- diced green and red bell pepper
- chopped hard-boiled egg
- rinsed capers
- ground lightly toasted cumin
- finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- finely chopped cilantro
- thinly sliced scallion, both white and green parts
- extra virgin olive oil
- Drain the chickpeas, and combine with 2 quarts water in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer one hour.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium heat in a medium-size, heavy nonstick skillet. Add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Stir in the garlic and cumin, and stir together for 30 seconds to a minute, until the garlic smells fragrant. Remove from the heat, and stir into the beans.
- After the beans have cooked for an hour, stir in the harissa and salt to taste. Cover and continue to cook for another 30 minutes to an hour, until the beans are very tender and the broth fragrant. Add lemon juice, and taste and adjust salt.
- Serve the soup. Passing your choice of condiments on a large tray, or have them laid out on a buffet to stir into the soup.