Late summer is my favorite season for fruits. Grapes in particular are almost as sweet as honey at the moment. However I have not followed yet the grape cure / monodiet that naturopaths recommend for cleansing and detoxifying the body… This is probably the fault of the last figs (they are simply irresistible – I will dedicate them a post very soon) that I cannot resign myself to leave aside... But summer end is also the season for a very special fruit, the quince, that most people know only because of the jams or pâtes de fruits.
To me, it always reminds me of a special tajine – if you do not know what tajine is yet, it is a type of terracotta dish that we use in Morocco to slowly cook food, but it also refers to the stewed meals that are made in it – a sweet and sour one in which the slightly tangy taste of the fruit – between apple and peer – is revealed in an interesting way. This tagine is traditionally prepared with beef meat. How to reproduce such a subtle mix of flavors in a vegetarian recipe? I wondered. After some thinking and trying, I came up with this recipe of chickpeas with quinces. A balanced and nourishing meal that reproduces in a nice way this sweet-sour-tangy combination…
I have prepared this meal with a particular variety of quinces we have in Morocco, called lqim.. I have done some research to see if this fruit could be found somewhere else, but Google seems to ignore its existence (if you have found a similar fruit outside of Morocco, please let me know!). Its shape is closer to that of a medium plum and its taste is a little bit less acidic than that of classic quinces. Nevertheless, the regular quince will fit in this recipe as well. It will only need a little bit of honey at the end of cooking, to smooth the tangy taste if needed.
Sweet & Tangy Chickpeas with QuincesServes 4
1 pound / 400 g chickpeas
0,5 pound / 250 quinces
1 big onion (or 2 medium)
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp ras-al-hanout
A pinch black pepper
3 tbsp canola oil or ghee
1 tsp honey
A few cranberries
Soak the chickpeas in cold water the night before (you can also use a can of chickpeas). Cut the onions into thin strips. Reserve the half for later.
Pour the onions and the chickpeas in a casserole, add oil (or ghee), cinnamon stick, ras-al-hanout and pepper. (A little aside on ras-al-hanout, it is a spice mix used in Maghreb cuisine, which contain until 30 spices. Nowadays, it is sold in stores. – I will write an article on it in the Ingredient section in the next weeks.) Do not add salt yet, it could stop the cooking of chickpeas. Brown over medium heat for a few minutes, until the onions are softened and the smell of spices is wafting around your kitchen. Slowly add lukewarm water, until chickpeas are covered. Cover with a dip and cook for 30 minutes. At this point, remove some of the stock and reserve it in a small saucepan. Add the remaining onions in the chickpea casserole, cover with water if needed and let cook for 15 other minutes.
In the meanwhile, cook the quinces (cut in quarters) in the small saucepan with the stock, over low heat for 15 minutes. At the end of the cooking, add the honey and the cranberries. It will enhance the sweet taste, and will soften the acidic taste of the fruit. When the chickpeas are ready, add the sauce in which the quinces were cooked, and let stew for 5 more minutes. It is better not to cover with a dip at this point, in order to let the sauce caramelize. Serve the chickpeas in a deep dish and decorate with the quinces and cranberries.
Hi there! I'm Majda.
Foodie, yogini, life lover!
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