Chickpea Balls Stew "Kipteh D'Soma"
This warming and aromatic dish is a hearty and healthy vegetarian alternative for the traditional Assyrian meatball stew "kipteh!" Chickpea ball stew is slightly tart with bright flavors. It's so filling and mouthwatering that you'll forget it's meat-free!
Yields 6-8 servings
16 oz bag dry chickpeas, soaked in water overnight
¼ cup of all purpose flour (for the pan)
½ cup cracked wheat #1
½ cup onions, diced
½ cup green peppers, diced
½ cup red peppers, diced
¼ cup fresh basil or 1 tbsp dry basil
½ cup chopped parsley
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. black pepper
3 tbsp. grapeseed or canola oil
2 tbsp. paprika
5 cups tomato juice
3 cups boiling water
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. date syrup or brown sugar
1 pound Swiss chard, stems cut into small dice and leaves torn (equivalent to 1 bundle)
1 cup celery, diagonally sliced (equivalent to 3-4 medium stalks)
½ cup chickpeas
1 tbsp. kosher salt
Chickpea Balls: Before cooking dried chickpeas, the first thing you will have to do is soak them. Place chickpeas in a large bowl and cover completely with cold water. Place in the refrigerator and allow the chickpeas to soak overnight, about 8-12 hours, changing the water every four or five hours. Soaking cuts cooking time by half and reduces their flatulent effect (your guests will appreciate that!). Drain chickpeas, discard the water and rinse one last time. Reserve ½ cup of chickpeas for the stew.
In a shallow big pan, spread the flour and set aside. You will place the chickpea balls on the pan once formed.
Place drained chickpeas in a blender or food processor until finely chopped. You want the mixture to be coarse. Don’t puree the mixture and remember to reserve ½ cup of chickpeas for the stew before you place in the blender. In a mixing bowl, combine the chickpea mix with the remaining chickpea ball ingredients. Knead the mixture with your hands until it comes together.
Form into 8-10 medium-sized tightly packed balls (larger than a golf ball, smaller than a baseball). You may have to wash your hands in between each one to keep the mix from sticking too much. Place them on the floured pan. Gently shake the pan several times to lightly cover all the chickpea balls with flour. Sprinkle flour over them if necessary.
Stew: Heat oil in a 5 qt. Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in the paprika and cook for a few minutes. Add the tomato juice and water. Bring to a boil. Then add the remaining stew ingredients and stir. Bring it all to a boil again. Carefully drop three to four chickpea balls (one at a time) into the stew with a slotted spoon or spatula. They will rise to the top when they are cooked. Don't stack the chickpea balls or overcrowd the pot. Don't stir the stew at this point, but gently move the chickpea balls with a spatula to make room and to make sure they don't stick to the bottom of the pot. Gently add the remaining chickpea balls to the stew. All the chickpea balls should be added within 5-8 minutes so they cook evenly. Cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
Enjoy with a side dish of green onions, radishes, cucumbers, hot peppers and parsley!
Alternative Soaking Method
If you’re experiencing a ridiculous craving for chickpea ball soup and can’t wait to soak your chickpeas overnight, here’s an alternative approach. Simply, boil the chickpeas for two minutes, take pot off the heat, cover and allow it to stand for two hours. Then follow the rest of the recipe.
1. Wash and dry parsley completely before chopping to reduce extra moisture in the chickpea ball mix. This will keep them from falling apart in the pot.
2. Don't oversoak the chickpeas for more than 8-12 hours, if soaked for too long your chickpea ball mix may fall apart.