Chickpea Sousé

Chickpea sooSAY,  You Say?

These beans make a unique marriage of parsley, garlic, fennel seed, and red wine.

The flavor is deep and subtle—like nothing I’ve tasted before. With a load of red wine I honored the name of a W.C. Fields movie character—Edgar Sousé—who was “soused” most the time. I happened upon a recipe in an Italian cookbook entitled “Drunken Pork Chops!” 

It’s in my top three bean dishes in thirty years of cookery. There is awesomeness in the following planned-overs! A veritable launching pad to build clever and quick meals later in the week.  —Recipes developed by Bill Hettig

RECIPE: Serves 4-5

Exchange for navy, northern, cannellini, even a blend of beans. Or cook 1 pound of dry beans from scratch.

  • chickpeas, cooked – 6 cups,  (3 cans)
  • olive oil – 4 TBS, divided
  • garlic – 1 TBS, (3 cloves), minced
  • parsley – 1 cup, (1 bunch), chopped fine, then measured
  • fennel seeds – 1 TBS, toasted, slightly ground
  • hearty burgundy – 3/4 cup or dry red wine
  • sea salt – 1 tsp. or to taste
  • pepper – 1/8 tsp. or to taste


  1. In a medium pot, add 2 TBS of oil, then sauté the garlic until it just begins to turn golden—about 1 minute. Add the parsley, sauté one minute more.
  2. Add the fennel seed, beans, salt, and wine bring to a simmer. 
  3. Reduce flame and simmer, covered for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining olive oil, and pepper. Stir well, and simmer for 2 minutes. Taste for any further correction.


Chickpea-Mushroom Sousé To create an entrée dish, separately sauté chopped portobello or shiitake mushrooms in olive oil with a good shake of blackening seasoning. Add to the beans at Step 4.

Chickpea-Sausage Sousé To create an entrée add some bite-sized pieces of browned sausage at step 3.


Sousé & Polenta You will think you are dining in a 5-star ristorante! Leftover polenta can be molded and sliced. Plan on making polenta then pour leftovers into a shallow pan and refrigerate. It will harden for this dish later in the week.   —Recipe by B. Hettig

I spooned leftover polenta into cupcake forms as a planned-over!
  • chickpea sousé – 2 cups as planned-over
  • spaghetti sauce -1 cup or more to sauce
  • polenta, planned-over – 3-4 slices, broiled
  • parsley – 1 TBS. chopped as garnish
  • parmesan cheese to pass at the table
  1. Reheat the beans thinned with some sauce.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Set rack at 4 inches to the broiler. Lightly oil a baking pan and brush a little oil on the polenta. Broil for a few minutes, then turn and again oil the top. Broil for a few minutes.
  3. Place the polenta on a shallow bowl or plate. Cover with beans.
  4. Sprinkle on the parsley and serve with parmesan to pass.

Sousé Has-Beans Paté This is Italian hummus supreme!

Put planned-over beans into a food processor, add the following to kick up the heat and bring on the flavor.  —Recipe by B. Hettig

  • chickpea sousé – 1 cup, as planned-over
  • horse radish – 1 tsp. or to taste
  • balsamic vinegar – 1 tsp. or red-wine vinegar
  1. Add all to a food processor and blend. Add just enough water to create a paté consistency. 

© 2020, Bill Hettig

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