Ceci (Cooked Chickpeas)
I originally made ceci (cooked chickpeas) as part of Nancy Silverton's chopped salad recipe from The Mozza Cookbook. The resulting beans are full of flavor and creamy - entirely unlike the canned variety you might buy in the store. Not only is Nancy's ceci fantastic, but the cooking liquid can be frozen for future use as a base for soup or sautéed veggies. Think of it like a rich vegetable stock.
Ceci is the second entry in my Recipe Card series. Posts are shorter in nature and will only feature the recipe, instructions, and tips. The series is an opportunity to feature simpler dishes that I plan to reference down the road.
Chickpeas and Garbanzo Beans
I use these words interchangeably but am referring to the same type of bean.
The freshness and quality of your dried garbanzo beans will determine how long this dish takes to cook. Nancy suggests that it can take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours based on the quality of the beans and soaking time. After soaking overnight, I've found that the garbanzos from Koda Farms cook up on the fast side (1 - 1 1/2 hours). On the other hand, store-bought dried chickpeas take longer and this is likely due to age. In all cases, I start testing the beans around 45 minutes to gauge progress.
Don't drown the chickpeas in water when you're cooking them. Nancy suggests covering the beans with about 1 1/2 inch of water, adding more as you go if too much evaporates during cooking. I haven't ever had to add water.
Farmers | Artisans
I make an effort to source my food from local California artisans with a special focus on the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Below is a list of the talented folks who contributed to this dish.
- Milliken Family Farms / Garlic
- Trattore Farms / Olive Oil
- Koda Farms / Garbanzo Beans
- Finley Farms / Celery and Carrots
- Schaner Farms / Onions
- 1 cup dried garbanzo beans
- 2 tablespoons flake-style salt
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thirds
- 1 celery rib, cut into thirds
- 1 dried arbol chile
- 16 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1/2 yellow onion, halved
- In a large bowl, cover the dried garbanzo beans with ample water, then set out at room temperature for about 8-10 hours (or overnight).
- Drain the chickpeas and put in a medium saucepan.
- Add the salt, olive oil, and enough filtered water to the pot so that the beans are covered by about 1 1/2 inches.
- Wrap the chile, garlic, and onion in cheesecloth, secure with twine, and then drop that into the pot. Add the carrots and celery. Note: Nancy suggests wrapping the carrots and celery in the cheesecloth but it ends up being a little bulky. The pieces are large and easy to fish out at the end.
- Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, then immediately lower the heat to a simmer.
- Simmer for 1-4 hours, stirring a couple of times for heat distribution. Start testing at 45 minutes and continue to cook until very creamy.
- Once the chickpeas are done, move the pot off the heat and let the beans cool in the liquid.
- Once cool, remove the cheesecloth bundle, carrots, celery and discard.
- Transfer the ceci and the cooking liquid to an airtight storage container and refrigerate for up to 2-3 days. Note: I'm not sure how long the cooked garbanzo beans will last refrigerated since I always use them relatively quickly.
- Once you've used up the ceci, freeze and save the liquid for soup or in place of cooking liquid for dishes like sautéed greens.