Sicilian Chickpeas and Escarole (Minestra di Ceci)
A hearty, humble, and nutritious dish with the characteristic Sicilian combination of savory and sweet flavors, chickpeas and escarole can be a main dish with polenta or a side dish to poultry or fish, and it can be on the table in 30 minutes.
Why This Recipe Works
Traditional chickpea and escarole soup recipes start with dried chickpeas, soaking them overnight, then simmering them for hours until tender, but in side-by-side tastings of versions of the dish made with dried and canned chickpeas, we were hard-pressed to tell the difference among the panoply of assertive ingredients. So we simply added canned chickpeas, along with raisins, chicken broth, and escarole, to a pot where we had already cooked some onion, carrot, garlic, and hot red pepper flakes. We thought we’d be done as soon as the escarole was wilted, but moisture remaining in the pot watered down our chickpea and escarole recipe, so we simply cooked off the liquid, which also concentrated the flavors.