Roasted Chickpeas

26 09 2011

How has your week kicked off? The weather continues to be balmy here in Calgary. Now that the busy summer is over, I have been enjoying trying a new recipe here and there. The other weekend I tried one of Mark Bittman’s recipes for Roasted Chickpeas. I was looking for something simple and healthful to bring to a certain someone’s non-birthday party and I knew an experiment would be okay with this crowd. For his actual recipe and blog click here. I adapted his recipe to my tastes and seasoned with hot smoked paprika and sea salt. Smoked paprika is popular in Spanish foods. It is super flavourful. I picked some up after taking a Spanish cooking class with Tony before our honeymoon to Almeria, Spain a few years back. At the cooking class we made toasted blanched almonds with smoked paprika and sea salt, which were amazing. I figured it would make chickpeas exciting too.

  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 can, 398ml, drained cooked / canned Chickpeas
  • 1 tsp minced Garlic
  • Fresh cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp or more Hot (or mild) Smoked Paprika

Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Heat the oil over medium heat in an overproof fry pan/skillet that is large enough for the chickpeas to be in one layer. If you have a pan with a handle that might be sensitive to heat, I have seen chefs wrap tin foil around it. Once the oil is hot, add the chickpeas, garlic, half the salt and some cracked pepper. The garlic and chickpeas will crackle a bit, shake the pan so the chickpeas are coated. Place the pan in the oven. Roast in the oven for 20-30 min (mine took 30 to get a crunchier skin), shaking the pan every 5 min or so. When they’re done, sprinkle with the paprika and the rest of the salt, toss, taste, adjust and serve.

Smoked Paprika Roasted Chickpeas

I found the crispness didn’t last very long, but everyone that tried them said they were good and would be good on a salad too. Tony kept eating them in the car on the way to the party (bad distracted driver).

Eat well, Be well,

Nat

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Hungarian Lesco

19 09 2011

How was your weekend? Mine was filled with cooking, eating and visiting. It was nice to spend time with friends and family and have few things to achieve. What I love about this blog is sharing traditional recipes with you, ones that are passed down through the generations. Today Tony and I made Lesco (Lecho in English, pronounced lech-oh). Lecso is a Hungarian pepper stew. I am lucky to have a husband that finds this to be a comfort food like I do. He was on and on about making some for winter, so we headed out to the farmers markets Saturday in search of sweet yellow Hungarian peppers, paprika and onions. Now when I say we made lesco, we made A LOT of lesco.

A sink of peppers and tomatoes

While at yoga T washed and prepped the peppers, 25 pounds of Hungarian peppers and a pound or two of hot banana peppers. I got home and it was straight to work. In two hours we chopped, sautéed and stewed. We kept some aside for dinner and packed the rest up in freezer bags for winter.

T prepping hot peppers (gloves a must for contact wearers 🙂

My mom taught me how to make lesco a couple of years ago, she learned from grandma and developed our family recipe I grew up eating. This was my first attempt on my own, easy peesy, and it tastes just like moms :).

Sauteing Peppers

Here is my family recipe for Lesco (I’ve given you a smaller portion size here):

  • 2 bags sweet Hungarian Peppers (the produce bags you get from the grocery/market), seeded and chopped
  • 5 hot Banana Peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 medium or 3 small sweet White Onions, chopped
  • 5 medium Tomatoes or 8 Roma or 1 can Whole Tomatoes
  • 4-5 tbsp Hungarian or Spanish Paprika (sweet, red and full of flavour)
  • 3/4 – 1 c Sour Creme
  • Olive Oil for sautéing
  • 2 tsp Sea Salt

BIG pot of Lesco

Blanche the tomatoes, remove skin, chop. Saute the onion in olive oil until transparent. Add 1-2 tbsp of paprika and 1 tsp salt, mix. Add the tomatoes to the onion mixture, warm through. Set aside. In the meantime or after the onions are done, saute the chopped hot peppers in one pan and the sweet peppers in another large pot in olive oil. That way you can add the hot peppers to the mixture a bit at a time. Saute peppers until al dente. Add tomato-onion mixture to the sweet peppers, mix over low-medium heat. Add small portions of the hot peppers and taste until you have a heat level you like. If you don’t like hot, do add at least one hot pepper, it gives it flavour. Add 2-3 more tbsp of paprika, 1 tsp or more of salt to taste. Stew low-medium heat for 15-20 min. Add the sour creme, stir well.

Lesco Packed up for Winter

Eat fresh with fresh sour dough bread, mmmm. We had ours for dinner and packed the rest up for the freezer.
If you are in Calgary and want Hungarian paprika, I found gorgeous paprika it at the Crossroads Market, at the Hungarian Deli.
What traditional foods bring you comfort?
Eat well, Be well,
Nat