Spicy Basque chickpeas

1 cup dried chickpeas

¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 carrot, sliced
1 stalk fennel, sliced, or 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 package Yves® veggie bacon

2 whole cloves
½ to 1 teaspoon pimente d'Espalette (or other crushed spicy red pepper)
¼ cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Cook chickpeas in pressure cooker for half an hour (or soak beans overnight).

In large stovetop casserole dish, heat olive oil. Saute onion and garlic for several minutes until onion is clear. Add carrot, fennel, and veggie bacon, and saute for 10 minutes more.

Add chickpeas, cloves, red pepper, and water to cover. Cover dish and let cook, adding liquid as necessary. When chickpeas are thoroughly cooked, add tomato paste, cumin, salt, and pepper, stir thoroughly and let cook for 15 minutes more. The finished dish should be thick and moist.

Serve with crusty bread, hard sheep's milk cheese, and robust red wine! A Basque-style side dish of potatoes, red peppers, or rice also goes well with this meal.

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