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Achiote-Seared Chickpeas

By March 25, 2019 April 3rd, 2019 No Comments

Photo by Ralph Lauer

This recipe appeared in our April 2009 issue, and it’s worth repeating. Whole chickpeas seared in spicy achiote oil, mixed with roasted tomatoes and goat cheese, are served with toasted pita bread. The dish is filling on its own, but it also partners well with grilled chicken or lamb chops. Find a variation at chef Lou Lambert’s Austin restaurant, Lamberts Downtown Barbecue.

Achiote-Seared Chickpeas with Pita Bread

Serves 6 as an appetizer

  • 3 Roma tomatoes, oven roasted, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons achiote oil (recipe follows)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons dark chili powder
  • 1 medium red onion, 1-inch dice
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 ounces baby arugula, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • Pita bread toasted with olive oil and cumin

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Halve tomatoes; sprinkle with salt, pepper and olive oil. Cook for
15 to 20 minutes until softly wilted. Remove and set aside.

Heat a large saute pan on medium-high and add the achiote oil. Add garlic and lightly brown. Immediately add the chickpeas and turn heat to high. Sear chickpeas for about a minute before stirring, then continue to cook until you see a little color and the peas begin to sizzle and pop. Stir in chili powder and lightly season with salt and pepper.

Add tomato and onion and continue to cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Squeeze lemon into the chickpeas and continue to cook for another minute.

Remove the pan from the heat and fold in the arugula, oregano, parsley and half the goat cheese.

Transfer the chickpeas to a serving platter or shallow bowl and crumble the remaining goat cheese over the top. Serve with pita bread.

Achiote Oil

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons achiote paste (available in the Mexican foods aisle at most grocers)

Place ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan and heat to about 200 degrees.

Remove from heat and allow achiote to steep in the oil for at least 30 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine strainer, reserving oil and discarding achiote.