How to cook cicerchie

Cicerchie are one of the most ancient legumes of history: there’s proof of cicerchie beans in archaeological sites of the Fertile Crescent dating back to 8000 BC. They have an incredible resistance to droughts, so in tough times, people relied on cicerchie as their main sustenance for months.

Forgotten for a long time, they are being rediscovered little by little, especially thanks to the extraordinary nutritional values that turn this rustic legume into a wholesome meat alternative that is a great source of energy and proteins. Chock full of vitamins, minerals like phosphorus and calcium, and edible fibers, it is no surprise that cicerchie used to be called “the meat of peasants”.

They are a wild variety of chickpeas, very similar both in taste and shape, with a stronger personality and more earthy and rich notes. Recipes for cicerchie range from warm soups and stews to salads and bruschette.

Ingredients

Serves 10 people

1 bag of cicerchie (1lb)
5 liters of water
Rosemary, or other preferred herbs
Leek, or garlic, or onions
Sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

Compared to other legumes, cicerchie need a longer cooking time at higher temperatures, especially to reach high digestibility.

  1. Soak in fresh water overnight, or for as long as 24 hours
  2. Discard the soaking water and place cicerchie in the heaviest and thickest pot you have
  3. Cover with fresh water and bring to a boil
  4. Add aromatic herbs, or leek to the boiling water
  5. Cover with a lid and cook on a low flame, water has to be simmering
  6. Cicerchie will be cooked when they have an evenly tender texture, but still have a bite. Approximately 45 minutes / 1 hour
  7. You can salt cicerchie while they are boiling or at the end of cooking, while they cool down in their own juices
  8. Once cooled, drain* and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serve it on a slice of toasted bread, as a flavorful side dish, or add a little extra broth and serve as a soup

*The cooking water of legumes is extremely rich in flavors and nutrients: it makes an outstanding broth or base for any recipe. Do not discard and store in the refrigerator or freezer for further use.