Two bowls of leblebi, harissa, and flatbread.

A few weeks ago a friend emailed me telling me she had taken a pledge to eat pulses once a week for 10 weeks. Despite some reservations concerning my lentil-, legume-, and chickpea-recipe repertoire, I decided to take the plunge, too.

And so I’ve been cooking my way through the bean chapter of Twelve Recipes, which unsurprisingly has been a joy: last week I discovered dal and over the weekend, a spicy black bean soup flavored with orange zest, a subtle but bright touch to a wintry dish.

Most recently, I made the leblebi, a North African chickpea stew, swirled with a smoky harissa. Each of these recipes is made with water and none wants for stock or cream thanks to Peternell’s techniques: slow sweating of the onion, brief toasting of the spices, and thoughtful layering of herbs and garnishes.

I know little more about leblebi than what I’ve read in Twelve Recipes and the few recipes I’ve found online, but from what I gather it originates in Tunisia, is typically served at breakfast, and welcomes many a garnish: poached or hard-boiled eggs, a sprinkling of cumin or capers, a drizzle of olive oil or harissa, toasted bread, preserved lemon, tinned fish, or pickled vegetables.

I served it solely with Peternell’s simple homemade harissa and mopped it all up with tarka flatbreads.

leblebi ingredients

adding the spices

sauteing the onions, garlic, cilantro, and spices

cookedchickpeas

crushed tomatoes

pot of leblebi

This is the leblebi on day 2 — it thickens considerably as it sits. Thin with more water to taste or leave it thick and stewy.
leblebi, day 2

Peternell gives two methods for making harissa; see recipe below:
simple harissa

tarka flatbreads

Leblebi, a North African chickpea stew, is swirled with a smoky harissa and made with water instead of stock or cream thanks to slow sweating of the onion, brief toasting of the spices, and thoughtful layering of herbs and garnishes. Delicious! // alexandracooks-staging.yxqm9184-liquidwebsites.com

tarka flatbread

leblebi with tarka flatbreads

[tasty-recipe id=”51898″]