How to cook Cicerchie

Chock full of vitamins, minerals like phosphorus and calcium, and fibers, it is no surprise that Cicerchie used to be called “the meat of peasants”. They are a wild variety of chickpeas, very similar both in taste and shape, with a stronger personality and more earthy and rich notes.

We love Cicerchie for a twist on pasta e fagioli, in warm soups and stews alongside other beans + grains, or simply on a slice of toasted bread with an abundant drizzle of Umbrian, intense EVOO (talking about you, Frantoio Gaudenzi Quinta Luna!).

Ingredients

SERVES: 4 people
TIME: About 1 hour, plus soaking time (8 to 24 hours)

3 cups of Cicerchie
1/2 onion
1/2 leek
1 garlic, peeled
1 carrot
Herbs (rosemary, bay leaves, and sage)
Sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

  • Soak Cicerchie in salted water for at least 8 hours and up to 24 at room temperature (leave enough room to allow them to double in volume).
  • Drain Cicerchie and place them in a pot. Fill with enough water to cover by at least 3 inches. Season with salt and add the aromatics (herbs + vegetables).  If you mind picking the aromatics out later, use a cheesecloth to make a sachet.
  • Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer.
  • Cook uncovered, skimming the surface of foam as needed.
  • Cicerchie will be cooked when they have an evenly tender texture, but still a bite (approximately 1 hour).
  • Once cooled, discard the aromatics, drain*, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serve it on a slice of toasted bread, as a flavorful side dish, or add a little extra broth and serve as a soup.

*The cooking water of legumes is extremely rich in flavors and nutrients: it makes an outstanding broth or base for any recipe. Do not discard and store in the refrigerator or freezer for further use.