Sumac is from the Middle East and has a pleasantly sour and astringent taste without being sharp. It was used as a souring agent by the Romans before lemons were available in Europe. If you don’t have sumac, you can use any spice you like – curry goes well with this dish.
1 cup dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
½ cup olive oil
1 onion, cut into thin wedges
1 tsp. sweetener of choice
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 lbs. chard (about 3 bunches)
3 Tbs. fresh mint, chopped
2-3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1½ Tbs. ground sumac
1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl with water and leave to soak overnight. Drain and place in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for about 1¾ 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 for about 5 minutes or until softened and just starting to turn brown.
3. Cut the tomatoes in half, 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 with paper towels. Trim the stems and finely shred the leaves.
5. Add to the tomato mixture with the chickpeas and cook 3-4 minutes or until the chard wilts. Add the mint, lemon juice, and sumac, season, and cook for 1 minute. Serve immediately.