Slow-cooked chickpeas ragout, with spinach & carrots, served with tahini & pickled beetroots

Oh… I have so many stories to share with you and not enough days before Greek Orthodox Easter to do so. So let’s start with Lent and Green Monday | Greeks and Cypriots are fasting for 40 days before the Greek Orthodox Easter and the period is called “sarakosti” in Greek or Lent in English | The day we start the fastening is always Monday and is called “Kathara Deftera” or {clean} Green Monday | the tradition has that on Green Monday we fly kites | Traditional food like humus, tahini, giant ragout beans – “Fasolia Giahni”, fish like octopus and shrimps, boiled potatoes and beetroot in vinegar, olives and a traditional bread called “Lagana”, mark the day and accompany the fasteners for 40 days. The last night of the fastening, the Great Easter Saturday, we break the fastening with a traditional soup, called “Magiritsa’ made with rice and lamb livers | Hope you stay tuned to my stories and Instagram account for all those 40 days before Easter. {story from my personal Instagram account}

Today I am sharing with you a Greek and Cypriot traditional food, that it’s main ingredient is well known around the world and is the used on its own, or as the base ingredient for many other food, like hummus or Falafel. Chickpeas!
My recipe is a traditional one, called “Revithia Giahni”, or as simply translated, slow-cooked chickpeas ragout, with fresh tomato sauce, onions and virgin olive oil and is served with pickled beetroots, tahini sauce and hot flatbread or pitta.
This is a plate that is made very often and by thousands of households in Greece and Cyprus, during “Sarakosti” {lent period} and there are many variations to the recipe, with some to add spinach, carrots and or potatoes, cooked in the oven, in a clay pot or a casserole.

Preparation: A day before

Preparation before cooking: 1 hour – 1&1/2 hours 

Cooking time:  about 1&1/2 hours

Serves:  4

 

Ingredients:

  • 400 grams chickpeas, peeled
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 large fresh tomatoes, grated
  • 1 cup, concentrated tomato juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar (optional)
  • 3 carrots, 1cm, sliced
  • 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp all spice (optional)
  • 1kg of (raw) spinach

Directions:

  1. Wash chickpeas well and soak them into to a huge bowl with drinking water, about 2 litres, from the night before.
  2. Allow to rest until the next day and change the water once in a while to remain clean. The chickpeas will become bigger, softer and discoloured.
  3. The next day, empty the water and strain the chickpeas. In the meantime place a big casserole (between 26″-28″) on high heat and fill it half way, with drinking water.
  4. When the water is hot and bubbleish, place the chickpeas in and allow to boil for about 1 hour or until chickpeas are soft. 
  5. When soft, strain and keep aside.
  6. In a new casserole, of same size, pour the olive oil and allow to become hot, them sauté the onions and garlic until translucent. 
  7. Add the carrots, tomato and spinach bring to a boil and add the parsley and mix.
  8. Pour the chickpeas in the the sauce and cover with the lid.
  9. Boil for about 1 hour and 45 minutes in very slow heat.
  10. When they are ready, allow to rest. You will know that are ready, when chickpeas are soft and the sauce has form a thick sauce.
  11. Serve them with plenty of tahini sauce, some pickled beetroots and plenty of warm flatbread or pitta.