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Ottolenghi’s Slow-cooked Chickpeas on Toast with Poached Egg

An elevated beans on toast, Ottolenghi's slow-cooked chickpeas on toast with poached egg is the ultimate decadent brunch dish.

From the book

Yotam Ottolenghi


This recipe was tested among card-carrying sceptics – ‘5 hours’ cooking for beans on toast?!’, they couldn’t see how it could possibly be justified when a variation on the theme can be made in 15 minutes ( or even 15 seconds, for those inclined to open a well-known brand of beans and pop bread in the toaster). The result more than won over my fellow recipe testers – the chickpeas are impossibly soft and yielding and the flavour is rich and deep in a way that only slow­cooking can bring about. So, having won over these scep1ics, I ask the reader to take a leap of faith.

Notwithstanding the cooking time, it’s a very low-maintenance and highly comforting dish: one to simmer away on the stove at the weekend when you are pottering about in slippers at home. It tastes fantastic the next day and the day after that, so you might want to double the quantities and keep a batch in the fridge. A spoonful of Greek yoghurt can be served alongside each portion, if you like.

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220g medium-sized dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in plenty of cold water with 2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tbsp to finish
1 medium (140g) onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1½ tsp tomato purée
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp smelled paprika
2 medium (180g) red peppers, cut roughly into 0.5cm dice
1 (300g) beef tomato, peeled and roughly chopped
½ tsp caster sugar
4 slices of sourdough, brushed with olive oil and grilled on both sides
4 eggs, poached
2 tsp za'atar
salt and black pepper


Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Place in a large saucepan, cover with plenty of cold water and set over a high heat. Bring to the boil, skim the surface, and boil for 5 minutes. Strain and set aside.

Place the oil, onion, garlic, tomato puree, cayenne, paprika and red pepper in a food processor, along with 1 teaspoon of salt and some black pepper: blitz to form a paste.

Wipe down the chickpea saucepan, return it to the stove on a medium heat and add the paste. Fry for 5 minutes (there’s enough oil there to allow for this), stirring occasionally, before adding the tomato, sugar, chickpeas and 200ml of water. Bring to a low simmer, cover the pan and cook on a very low heat for 4 hours, stirring from time to time and adding more water when needed to retain a sauce-like consistency. Remove the lid and cook for a final hour: the sauce needs to thicken without the chickpeas becoming dry.

Place a piece of warm grilled sourdough on each plate and spoon over the chickpeas. Lay a poached egg on top, followed by a sprinkle of za’atar and a drizzle of oil.

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