Recipes have a story and this is my family’s story
This is our cigron recipe or my mum Ines’s variation of my Nana’s recipe. We think the vinegar is definitely Mum’s Italian influence and we love its taste. When I visit my granddaughter in Brisbane, Mia always asks – Are you going to make cigrons Avia? It is one of our special family meals or special occasion meals. It connects my family to our Catalan heritage in a special way and I feel honoured that I have passed a love of cigrons on to the next two generation. Should they visit Catalonia, they will be disappointed with the traditional recipe served there. I have ex flatmates from over 30 years ago who still reminisce about my cigrons. I have a Namco Pressure Cooker which I bought in 1983 and it has chuff chuffed its way through a few decades and quite a few kilos of chickpeas.
375 to 500 g dried chickpeas
2 – 4 tablespoons olive oil
4 – 6 rashes of bacon, diced
3 – 6 cloves garlic, diced finely
¼ to ½ cup vinegar
Salt and pepper
Rinse the dried chickpeas and then soak them in a bowl of water for at least 8 hours.
Drain chickpeas and place in a pressure cooker with boiled water. Add a large pinch of salt.
Bring the pot to the boil and scoop off any froth and bubble from the top of the water.
Seal lid and bring up to pressure. Reduce heat until gentle simmer (about 1/3 heats on my hotplates or a gentle chuff chuff chuff can be heard). Cook for 30 – 40 minutes.
Remove from heat, release pressure (safely). If there is too much liquid, reserve excess liquid (freeze to add to soups or pasta sauce or to add back into cigrons).
Meanwhile in a frying pan, heat the olive oil. Add bacon and fry until cooked.
Add garlic and fry until soft. Do not allow garlic to brown.
Just before garlic goes brown, add the vinegar. Simmer the sauce to evaporate off some of the vinegar and/or until sauce is slightly syrupy.
Taste test. If you need more zing in the sauce, add more vinegar and reduce sauce down again.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour sauce over the chickpeas. If a little dry, add back some of the reserved chickpea water. Stir to combine and serve.
We have a family favourite chickpea dish that connects us to our roots in Catalonia Spain: Cigrons. Unfortunately, our recipe has two complications: we prepare dried chickpeas by soaking overnight and then cook them in a pressure cooker and the recipe is difficult to commit in the written form. The quantities of olive oil, vinegar, bacon, garlic and salt and pepper all rely on taste and feel and sight and smell. Those who have shared house with me always reminisce about Cigrons and it is one of those meals that is prepared for when all the family is home.
You can however make chickpeas your way or try one of the recipes below. Canned chickpeas doesn’t have to only be used for Hummus.
Sherry-Glazed Chorizo and Chickpeas
2 teaspoons olive oil
125 g dried chorizo, sliced
1/3 cup dry sherry* for extra depth of flavour use a Sherry Vinegar
400 g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Chopped flat leaf parsley to serve
Heat oil in fry pan over medium to high heat.
Add chorizo and cook, turning for 3 – 4 minutes or until crisp.
Add ¼ cup sherry, then cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes or until chorizo is glazed and the liquid has evaporated.
Add chickpeas and remaining 1 tablespoon sherry then cook stirring occasionally, for a further 5 minutes or until chickpeas are warmed through.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
600 g chicken thighs, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
250 g chorizo, sliced
400 g can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tomato chopped
1 long red chilli, sliced
¼ cup chopped parsley
In a bowl, combine chicken, 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, paprika and cumin. Toss to coat.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan over high heat. Cook chicken for 2 -3 minutes each side or until golden. Remove from pan.
Cook chorizo and chickpeas in same pan, stirring for 2 – 3 minutes or until golden.
Return chicken to pan with any juices.
Drizzle over balsamic and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked and heated.
Stir through tomato, chilli and parsley
Louise’s Chickpeas in Spanish Sauce
2 cans drained chick peas
1 green capsicum
1 red capsicum
1 clove garlic
1 red chilli
1 tablespoon parsley
2 cans tomatoes
Chop the capsicums, chilli, onion and garlic.
Lightly fry in olive oil for a few minutes.
Add the parsley, tomatoes and chick peas. Season.
Cool on a low heat for about half an hour, stirring occasionally.
4 chorizo, sausages, thickly sliced
100 g jamon Serrano, diced
100 g salami, diced
100 g pancetta, diced
5 pink eschallots, quartered
5 garlic cloves, sliced
1 bunch of thyme, leaves only
2 x 400 g chickpeas, drained
500 ml chicken stock
1 bunch parsley, chopped
Heat a large saucepan. Add all the meats. Cook stirring occasionally, over a medium heat for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and fat in the meat has started to break down.
Add eschallots, cook stirring occasionally until soft (5 minutes). Add garlic and thyme. Cook for a further 2 minutes.
Stir in chickpeas. Cook stirring occasionally for 5 minutes so chickpeas can absorb the flavours of meats and herbs.
Stir in stock. Bring to boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes until slightly thickened.
Garnish with parsley.