Persian chickpeas with spiced beef & preserved lemon

6 years ago

Beef with chickpea ingredients

Chickpeas are definitely in my top 3 legumes, and they go brilliantly with Persian flavours like pomegranate molasses and preserved lemon. I was inspired by a recipe for them on EatTheRightStuff with spicy beef which incorporates an interesting ingredient I wasn’t familiar with – barberries. Apparently the sour little fruits are traditionally served at weddings, to remind guests that marriages have their downs as well as their ups. Unable to resist a philosophical fruit I set out to explore the array of Turkish and Middle-Eastern grocers in my neighbourhood. Each an Aladdin’s cave of strange nuts and dirt-cheap chillies, they bore success. Buoyed up, I also bought some odd-looking flakes of dried yoghurt which can apparently be turned into a kind of sourdough soup. But that’s for a later date.

Spiced Beef with Chickpeas

I added a little freshly ground cinnamon, pomegranate molasses and extra preserved lemon to Abby’s recipe, and it came out great. It tastes wonderfully citrussy, which along with the last-minute coriander really lifts the dish.

Baba Ghanoush

I served it with some lavash and a bowl of simple baba ghanoush topped with a swirl more pomegranate molasses, which was a delicious accompaniment. After spending quite some time trying to get the aubergines to char under the grill (I’d usually use the barbecue, but weather stopped play), I resorted to the kitchen blowtorch, which worked surprisingly well at finishing them off.

Spiced Beef with Chickpeas & Baba Ghanoush

Chickpeas with spiced beef and preserved lemon
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Persian
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 5
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 600g beef mince
  • 600g tinned chickpeas (drained weight), drained but reserve the liquid
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground coriander seed
  • 2 dry roast & ground chipotle (or 2 chopped chillies)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 preserved lemon, finely chopped, seeds discarded
  • small handful of dried barberries (optional)
  • handful chopped coriander leaves
  1. Heat the oil and add the mince. Brown over a high heat, stirring and breaking the mince up.
  2. Add the drained chickpeas, keeping the heat high.
  3. Stir occasionally until chickpeas begin to brown and pop – 5 to 10 minutes. A non-stick pan works best, but don’t worry if mixture sticks a bit. If it begins to scorch, lower heat slightly.
  4. Add the spices chipotle (or chilli) and garlic and cook, stirring, for about a minute.
  5. Add reserved chickpea liquid (or ~400ml water) and stir, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits.
  6. Add the preserved lemon and barberries then season with salt and pepper, then turn heat to medium-low.
  7. Continue to cook until mixture is no longer soupy but not dry.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *