As we have mentioned before in our blog, Greeks have a strong love for legumes. We eat them in every possible way, in soups, mashed up or even baked in the oven! Legumes are among the best protein sources and in difficult periods they used to be eaten as an alternative to meat. Greeks have never abandoned their habit of eating legumes even when times went better. It is typical of us to eat at least once a week such a dish. Legume soups are very popular this time of the year, when days get colder and dark rainy clouds cover every inch of our blue skies. Soups made from beans, lentils, chickpeas or even black-eyed peas are on our daily menu.
Chickpea soups are a staple in some Cycladic islands. The chickpeas are placed in a special ceramic pot, covered and cooked all night in a wood oven, thereby eaten the following day and usually on a Sunday after church.
As for the ingredients, things are very simple. You won’t need anything more than chickpeas, onions and olive oil. It’s the slow cooking that makes the difference!
Traditional Greek chickpea soup
½ kilo chickpeas
2 white onions coarsely chopped
1 glass esti olive oil
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 laurel leaf or a sprig of rosemary (optional)
You can use a ceramic oven pan or a deep oven pan of other material (about 22 cm diameter). If they have a lid of their own use it. If not then use aluminum foil instead.
Soak the chickpeas from the previous night for at least 12 hours.
Preheat the oven at 150 degrees.
Chop the onions coarsely.
Drain the chickpeas and place them in the pot. Add the onions, salt, olive oil, laurel or rosemary if used, and abundant water enough to cover ¾ of the pot. Place the lid or if you’re using aluminum foil grab round the lip of the pot as tight as you can. Even if you’re using a lid a good suggestion is to close the area round the lid and the lip with foil. The better sealed, the better the soup will be cooked.
Cook for at least 4 ½ hours.