Thursday, December 01, 2005

Topik (layered garbanzo bean pâté )

Topik is an Armenian dish traditionally eaten during the seven weeks of Lent when meat and dairy are forbidden. Nowadays it is more widely known as many restaurants in Turkey serve it as a meze.
Mavi Boncuk

Topik (layered garbanzo bean pâté )

Total time: 1½ hours, plus chilling time
Servings: Makes 9 squares
2/3cups dried Zante currants
1/4cup mild olive oil
4 cups chopped white onions (medium dice)
1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling the pâté
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
3 cups canned garbanzo beans, well drained, liquid reserved
3 tablespoons tahini paste, room temperature, well stirred
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 medium-sized yellow-fleshed potatoes, peeled and boiledSalt

1. Place the currants in a medium bowl, add boiling water to a level one-half inch above the currants and let them stand for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve the soaking liquid.

2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and very lightly browned, about 15 to 20 minutes, adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of the currant soaking liquid when onions begin to look dry.

3. Add the currants and another 2 to 3 tablespoons of their soaking liquid and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring. Stir in the cinnamon and allspice and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Stir in the pine nuts.

4. In a food processor, purée the garbanzo beans in 2 batches with the tahini, lemon juice and 4 to 5 tablespoons of the bean liquid until very smooth. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl.
5. Mash the potatoes until smooth with a potato masher or pass through a ricer. Stir the mashed potatoes into the puréed mixture and mix thoroughly. Season with salt.

6. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with plastic wrap, leaving 4 to 5 inches of overhang on all sides. Wet your hands with cold water and use them to spread half of the garbanzo mixture evenly on the bottom. Spread the onion mixture evenly on top; it will be a rather thick layer. With wet hands, spread the other half of the garbanzo mixture on top of that. Fold in the overhang to enclose the pâté. Weight the pâté with a small cast-iron skillet, a plate topped with two 16-ounce cans or something of similar weight, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

7. To serve, bring the pâté to room temperature, invert it onto a serving plate and remove the plastic wrap. Sprinkle the top lightly with cinnamon (you can do this decoratively through a doily). Cut into squares.

Each serving: 306 calories; 9 grams protein; 41 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams fiber; 14 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 246 mg. sodium.

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