Cook Chickpeas Confit-Style for Maximum Flavor and Barely Any Effort
It sounds absurd now, but there was a time in my life when I valued the time I spent cooking. I claimed it was a welcome break from work, from screen time. It was a way to learn new skills, to experiment with flavors and ingredients, to reconnect with dishes I grew up eating. I blitzed fresh ginger-garlic paste for each meal instead of prepping it in batches. I prided myself on using up every last veg from the CSA-even for the four weeks straight that one winter when (my memory might be faulty here) all we got were cabbages and apples. I took proud phone pics of the meals that had me using three or more burners at a time, I bragged about pushing the limits of toaster-oven cooking when it was too hot out to preheat the real thing. I actually wanted to be in the kitchen.
You can see where this is going: Those days are over for me. Now, there's nothing more that I want than a filling, nutritious, home-cooked meal on the table that I don't have to think about or prep for more than three minutes-one that ideally feels more special than the slapdash lunches we often throw together during the day. Enter the confit tandoori chickpeas from Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad's newest book, Shelf Love. I first came across this dish when I was flipping through an early copy of the book, already peckish and looking for something to, you guessed it, make for dinner. Drawn in by the allure of the name (confit? tandoori?), I skimmed through the recipe and…promptly turned the page when I realized it would take a cool 75 minutes to get the meal onto the table. But guess what? I have zero idea what we ate that night, and I do remember coming home from work the next day with two cans of garbanzos and, for the first time in a while, an actual plan.
The ingredient list, full of pantry staples, is not much more than the chickpeas, a ton of garlic, fresh tomatoes (though I've used canned too, and it's been just as good), and spices and oil, which is great right now, what with grocery prices trending up and to the right. But the genius of this dish is that the recipe is as simple as it comes. Dump all of the ingredients into a pot, give them a stir, cover, and let it cook in the oven, stirring again just once about halfway through, and that's it. The no-fuss, one-pot meal approach is so low-effort that the hour-plus in the oven barely even matters. And the time you put in is extremely worth it, because the final result is a rich and fragrant mess of chickpeas and burst tomatoes that are punchy, filling, and so versatile.
I've served this over rice, with rotis, and wrapped in tortillas; eaten it alongside roasted vegetables and with wilted greens mixed in; and even spooned over a bowl of yogurt for savory breakfast. In a pinch, I've made it to stretch leftovers from the Indian restaurant down the block into another meal and brought it into the office to dump on top of a salad from the café "for protein."
There's no tandoor to be seen, and no real confit either, but it truly doesn't matter. These chickpeas come together with barely any prep and minimal cleanup-though I still take pride in smashing my garlic myself-and maximum flavor, and that's really all I have time to care about right now.