Garbanzos a la Mexicana

Garbanzos a la Mexicana is a hot, spicy dish from Mexico made with chick-peas (or garbanzo beans, as they are sometimes called in the United States). Serve with plain grilled or roast meat or fish as a vegetable accompaniment or with crusty bread and butter as a first course.

10 oz. dried chick-peas, soaked overnight in cold water and drained

12- teaspoons salt

6 streaky bacon slices, rinds removed and diced 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, crushed 1 small red pepper, white pith removed, seeded and finely chopped

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon hot chilli powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 oz. tomato puree mixed with

2 fl. oz. cup water

Put the peas and 1 teaspoon of the salt into a medium-sized saucepan. Pour in enough water to cover the peas. Place the pan over moderately high heat and bring the water to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, or until the peas are tender.

Remove the pan from the heat. Drain the peas in a colander and set aside.

In a medium-sized heavy saucepan, fry the bacon over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until it has rendered most of its fat. If the bacon sticks to the pan, add a little oil. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown.

Stir in the remaining salt, the pepper, chilli powder, oregano, tomato puree mixture and the peas. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Turn the mixture into a heated serving dish and serve immediately.

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