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Dinner Tonight: Lemony Chickpea Stir-Fry

The brilliant secret to this recipe, an unclassifiable number that's kind of a stir-fry but with none of the usual ingredients, is the way chickpeas will caramelize and turn nutty-brown if you heat them over high heat in a skillet. Nick's covered this territory before in Dinner Tonight, when he cooked them until they actually crisped into snacks, making a kind of alternative to popcorn. But it was the first time I'd done anything besides purée or simmer the humble chickpea, and I was amazed. The process deepens the flavor considerably and makes them taste almost meaty.

The inspiration came from a recipe at 101 Cookbooks, which I followed only loosely: I replaced spinach for kale, lost the tofu, and added chunks of roasted red pepper. I think the recipe would be pretty successful with any number of ingredients—frozen corn, for example, or chunks of feta cheese tossed in at the end. The key is a good splash of lemon juice off the heat to brighten it and keep the oil in check. Just cook the heck out of the chickpeas and its pretty safe to say the result will be delicious.

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