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Warm Swiss Chard and Chickpea Salad with Sumac

25 June

Serves 4

Sumac is a Middle Eastern spice with a pleasantly sour and rather astringent flavor, but without the sharpness of either vinegar or lemon juice. It is mixed with yogurt and herbs to make a light refreshing sauce. This spice was used by the Romans before lemons reached Europe for its fruity sourness. If you don’t have sumac you can use any spice you like-curry goes well with this dish.

1 c. dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1/2 c. olive oil
1 onion, cut into thin wedges
2 tomatoes
1 tsp. sweetener of choice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 bunches chard
3 Tbs. fresh chopped mint
2-3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbs. ground sumac

1. Put chickpeas in a large bowl with water and soak overnight. Drain and place in a large sauce pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for about 1 3/4 hours. Drain when tender and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan, add the onion and cook on low heat about 5 minutes or until softened and starting to turn brown.
3. Cut the tomatoes in half and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon, then dice the flesh. Add the tomato flesh to the onions with the sweetener, cinnamon, and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until softened.
4. Wash the chard and pat dry. Trim the stems and finely shred the leaves.
5. Add to the tomato mixture with the chickpeas and cook 3-4 minutes until the chard starts to wilt. Add the mint, lemon juice, and sumac. Season and cook for 1 minute. Serve immediately.

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