Slow-cooked Chickpeas with Orange, Lemon and Celery (Revithia sto Fourno me Portokali, Selino ke Lemoni)

Adapted from a recipe given to me by Kalomira Vrondamiti, the owner and cook of a wonderful tavern on the picturesque Vourkari marina, in Kea


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2 1/2 cups dried chickpeas
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (optional, see note)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cups coarsely chopped onions
1 large carrot, thinly sliced (optional)
12 teaspoons Aleppo pepper or pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups Chicken Stock or more
1 piece fresh or dried orange peel (about 3 inches)
1 cup coarsely chopped celery, preferably Mediterranean leaf-celery
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly squezed lemon juice or to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, preferably Greek, for drizzling
Freshly ground black pepper


  • Soak the chickpeas overnight in plenty of water stirring in the baking soda, if using. Drain and rinse well under running water.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
1. In a medium bowl, combine the chickpeas and 1 teaspoon salt and toss well.
2. In a medium flameproof casserole, heat the oil and saute the onions over medium heat for 4 minutes, or until soft. Stir in the carrots, if using, chickpeas and Aleppo pepper or pepper flakes, then add the stock or water, the orange peel and celery. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat, and cover the dish with a double layer of aluminum foil and then the lid.
3. Reduce the oven temperature to 250°F place the casserole in the oven and cook for 6 hours, or until the chickpeas are very tender. Add mustard and lemon juice, taste and adjust the seasonings, adding black pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.


Soda is always used in Greece to help tenderize the chickpeas.