Have you ever wanted to be the kind of person who cooks their own pulses from scratch but have always found something else to do with your time rather soak, boil and skim peas or beans? I was like you until I discovered a little slow cooker secret.
Slow cookers allow you to cook pulses from dried and go off and live the rest of your life in the process. You put everything in, turn it on and come back to plump velvety pulses, full of flavour and with very little washing up. I don’t think I’ve bought a tin of beans since I discovered this trick. Dried pulses work out much cheaper and take up less room in the cupboards and the recycling.
I’ve added some seasonal flavours with the citrus along with some invigorating rosemary and warming leek to get you through grey chilly days. This makes a good packed lunch or a tasty dinner with some wilted kale and if you care for it, some pancetta cubes fried on top. Or maybe a soft poached egg. Either way it’s very easy to make and enjoy.
- 1 large leek, chopped into half moons
- 1 large orange, zested and the flesh chopped
- 250g dried chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
- ½ teaspoon red chilli flakes (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 250ml orange juice
- 250ml boiling water
Start by cleaning the leek. The quickest way to do this is to take a sharp knife and split the top of the green part of the leek from top to bottom on each side so it fans out slightly and you can wash into all the nooks and crannies easily. Then split it in half completely and chop into half moons about the thickness of a pound coin. Add to the slow cooker crock.
Zest the orange. This works equally well with a grater as a citrus zester itself. Set the zest aside til the end of the recipe and then cut the orange in half. Using a sharp knife, remove the white pith which can be bitter and roughly chop the flesh of the orange. Add into the crock along with the dried chickpeas.
Try and make sure everything is a low even layer in the crock. Season well. Contrary to popular belief, adding salt won’t make the pulses tough and actually helps them keep their shape. Pull the fresh rosemary off the branches and scatter in along with the oil and chilli if using.
Pour the liquids over it all. The chickpeas should just be covered. Slow cookers form a steam seal to help food by circulating the liquid contained within them which keeps the temperature low and steady but means that no liquid can evaporate as it cooks so you need less liquid than traditional methods to prevent that watery taste people often associate with slow cooker meals.
Put the lid on the slow cooker crock and cook everything on high for 8 hours. The leek will soften and the chickpeas will plump up beautifully. You may have a little liquid left in the base of the crock depending how juicy your orange was. Scatter the orange zest through the dish and then serve.
Any leftovers will keep for up to 3 days and will reheat well on the cooker or in the microwave. Don’t reheat food in the slow cooker itself though as it takes forever.
This recipe is from the North South Food blog
Miss South lives in South West London, and has the world at her fingertips due to the global range of her local market ands the city beyond.
Her grocery budget is small enough to be found only with a magnifying glass, but she has all the time in the world to dedicate to cooking and eating, as well as exploring the breadth of places to eat out in South London.
She’s becoming addicted to slow cooking, baking and offal, though rarely at the same time…