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Chickpeas with Pork Temple Recipe - Ceci e Tempia di Maiale


Politics sometimes has funny effects in the kitchen. The Spaniards who occupied Milano in the 1600s were great lovers of chickpeas, and this is something the Milanese developed to use the food of their overlords. When the overlords left the dish remained, and is now traditionally served in Milano on November 2, the day of the Dead.

Prep Time: 36 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 39 hours


  • 8 ounces (200 g) chickpeas
  • 1 1/3 pounds pork temple (or 3/4 pound temple and the remainder loin)
  • 2 onions
  • 1 rib celery
  • A carrot
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Salt & pepper to taste


Continuing with the introduction, the recipe calls for tempia di maiale, which is literally pork temple, but means any meat taken from the head of the pig, including that from the jowls. In its absence use a cut of pork that's neither too lean nor too fat. To serve 6 you'll need the ingredients listed above.

Soak the chickpeas for at least 36 hours, changing the water occasionally. Then boil the chickpeas in about 2 quarts of water, covered, for about 3 hours.

In the meantime, thinly slice the pork temple. Boil it for a half hour, then drain it, discarding the water, and return it to the fire with two quarts of water. Chop and add the vegetables and the herbs and lightly season with salt and pepper. Simmer for an hour, add the loin, and simmer for an hour longer.

By now the chickpeas should be done; add them to the pork pot and cook everything for a half hour more. Remove the meat from the pot, setting it aside to serve as a second course, with pickles and the other things one normally serves with boiled meats (mashed potatoes and a salsa verde come to mind) -- serve the chickpeas in their broth as a soup to start things off.

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