Chickpea Purée with Red Onion and a Parmesan and Garlic Crust


  • 275 g/10 oz dried chickpeas
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 75 g/3 oz butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar
  • ½ nutmeg, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 rounded tablespoons fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 1 rounded tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt
  • black pepper


Soak the chickpeas in plenty of cold water overnight. Drain, put in a saucepan and cover generously with water. Boil until completely soft.

Meanwhile, peel the onion, cut in half and slice finely. Melt a third of the butter with half the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring, until soft but not browned. Stir in the caster sugar, remove from the heat and leave on one side.

Drain the cooked chickpeas and put them into a food processor with the remaining butter and the nutmeg. Whizz thoroughly until smooth. Season to taste with salt and black pepper, then stir in the fried onion with its butter and oil and spoon into a small earthenware dish.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Peel the garlic and chop finely. Put the breadcrumbs into a bowl and stir in the grated Parmesan and garlic. Then thoroughly stir in the remaining olive oil. Spoon this mixture evenly over the top of the chickpea purée. Cook near the top of the oven for about 20 minutes, until speckled brown on top.