By Kiki Vagianos
A cast-iron pan is a great option for this dish or, of course, the more traditional clay pot if you’re lucky enough to have one in your kitchen. The cast iron just heats every bean through to creamy perfection and I swear, bakes the flavours of the onions and rosemary right into each pea. Truth be told, this is a flexible recipe in terms of bakeware as I’ve used a regular old 9×13 cake pan many times with great results.
450g dried chickpeas (soaked and boiled until tender) or 4 x 425g cans
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups reserved boiling liquid from chickpeas or liquid from can
1 tbsp dried chopped rosemary
2 tsp salt
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 ½ cups caramelised onions
Boil soaked chickpeas for one hour until tender. Reserve two cups boiling liquid before draining. You can do this up to three days ahead and keep both cooked chickpeas and reserve liquid covered in the refrigerator.
When ready to bake:
Layer bottom of casserole dish with caramelised onions and crushed rosemary, salt, pepper. Layer cooked chickpeas on top. Add reserved boiling liquid and oil. Stir gently to just combine. Try to leave onions on the bottom. Cook for two hours loosely covered in 200°C oven and then uncovered for additional 1/2 hour (total cooking time 2 1/2 hrs).
*For the caramelised onions:
1.5kg sweet white onions
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp brandy
-Combine sliced onions, orange juice, olive oil and salt. Cook onions in baking pan at 100°, covered tightly, for one hour. Uncover, stir and continue to cook with lid half off for another two hours. Stir halfway through. At the end of three hours, stir onions and add a tbsp of brandy to deglaze the pan. You can store cooled onions covered in the refrigerator for up to four days.