Warm Pomegranate-Glazed Chickpeas

          Plump, creamy chickpeas.  A pomegranate-onion reduction.  Accented with herbal cilantro and the sweet crunch of ruby red seeds.  This warm salad hits many disparate notes, which somehow all combine to form a tasty coherent whole, one that can be thrown together in about 20 minutes.

          This is one of those experimental recipes.  The kind that sounds interesting while I devise it in my thoughts, that evolves unexpectedly as I concoct the dish.  The kind that then turns out either weirdly or wonderfully.  Weirdly, in that the combination of ingredients never becomes greater than the sum of its parts.  Or wonderfully, with the elements melding together into something unexpectedly delicious.  (The former are more numerous than I care to admit, so for my current audience I will pretend that they don’t exist.)  Then, of course, there are the weirdly wonderful dishes.  I liken them to my first taste of blue cheese at the age of four.  The cheese was stinky and odd and nearly repulsive, yet for reasons that I couldn’t articulate, I instantly adored it.

          But I digress.  This experiment turned out well.  A perfect little dish for autumn.  It easily could accompany any grilled or roasted meat.  It would be lovely stuffed in a pita with shredded lettuce and yogurt.  Or you could do as I did after making the first batch, eat it straight from the pan with a big spoon, as the sweet, salty, tart flavors punch and mingle.   

Warm Pomegranate-Glazed Chickpeas

3T olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 T pomegranate molasses

1/2 cup water

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp honey or agave nectar

4 cups cooked chickpeas

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

seeds of 1 pomegranate

          In the oil saute the onion with a pinch of salt until tender.  Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the molasses, water, mustard, and honey.  Bring to a boil, then simmer vigorously until the liquid reduces by half, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chickpeas and simmer a few minutes longer, until they are heated through, and the liquid has been reduced to a near-glaze.  Add salt to taste.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro and pomegranate seeds.  Serve warm, or at room temperature.

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