Photography by Sarka Babicka
This is my take on a popular Levantine dish of chickpeas and yogurt known as fattet* hummus or hummus (chickpea) crumble. The Arabic word fatteh is derived from the root word “fatta” (in Arabic root words are actually only three letters but let’s not get into that). To translate it closely it would mean to break up, tear up, or crumble, which is what occurs to the bread in this recipe. This means that a true fatteh dish is based on using stale Arabic bread, traditionally as the base or foundation of the dish, rather than atop- as I’ve done (I’m all about crispy texture).
There exists a family of fatteh dishes with some incorporating chicken, lamb or aubergines instead of chickpeas but all will have bread. You might already be familiar with a fatteh dish without realising it, the very popular fattoush, for example (I have a soft heart for etymology). I have also previously posted a prawn crumble taken from my cookbook, The Jewelled Kitchen.
I’ve used butternut squash here as it is very much in season now (pumpkin, which we call ‘laktine’ in Arabic can be used too) and if you find yourself with some leftover turkey then by all means throw some of that in too. It does make a perfect accompaniment to lamb and ham as well!
While I have provided directions on cooking and peeling chestnuts, I do personally prefer to use ready-peeled chestnuts here, as it takes a while to peel them, especially without the thrill of consuming them as you go, and it also lessens the cuts to the bed of my finger nail (OUCH!)
I also find that in this case, the ready peeled chestnuts fit the spirit of this dish: quick, simple and leftover friendly.
Happy Thanksgiving all. x*To put it briefly, when indicating as to the the type of fatteh, the ‘h’ is dropped from the end of the word fatteh and replaced with a liaising ‘t’ , (as above fattet hummus) in effect, sort of mimicking the role of the possessive noun in the English Language… So, in case you’re wondering it’s not a typo and this is certainly not an academically written explanation.
- 800g/1 lb 12 oz butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 2.5 cm/1in dice
- 3 smoked garlic cloves, smashed and unpeeled
- 5 cm/ 2in root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 rosemary sprigs, leaves slid off the stalk
- Pinch of allspice
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 250g/9 oz chestnuts, scored
- 400g/14 oz cooked chickpeas, warmed
- 1 large (about 80g/2¾ oz) disc of stale Arabic bread
- 400ml/14fl oz/1½ cups + 2 tbsp/ 1¾ cups natural yogurt
- ½ tsp Aleppo pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 180c/350F/4G. To a baking tray add: the butter nut squash, smashed garlic, ginger, rosemary, allspice, sea salt and olive oil and toss to combine.
- Throw in the scored chestnuts but do not toss them to coat. Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the butternut squash is cooked through and soft. The chestnuts and butternut squash should finish cooking at the same time. You will know the chestnuts have finished cooking because their peels will come apart where they were scored.
- During the last five minutes of cooking time for the butternut squash, add the Arabic bread directly to one of the oven racks or to a baking tray and bake until golden and crisp, turning over once during the baking time. Remove everything from the oven and separate the chestnuts from the butternut squash. Peel the chestnuts, roughly chop them and set aside. Crumble the crisped Arabic bread into smaller, bite-sized pieces.
- Add the yogurt to a bowl, peel 2 of the cooked garlic cloves and pass them through a garlic press or finely chop them, then add them to the yogurt. Mix in some of the baked, crispy rosemary, Aleppo pepper, salt and stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning to liking.
- To a serving bowl, add the chickpeas, then toss over the butternut squash and any spices/herbs that come with it, discarding the unused garlic clove. Toss over the chestnuts, pour over the yogurt and sprinkle over the crumbled Arabic bread. Serve immediately.