Tender and tasty, these chickpeas are the essence of comfort in a bowl. They're seasoned with fennel, a hit of chile, and fresh basil. Crunchy garlic croutons adds pleasing texture to the finished dish. Serve them as a main dish alongside a simple salad or as a side along with roast chicken or fresh fish.
Heat the olive oil in large skillet over medium. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes to infuse the oil with flavor.
Turn the heat to high and add the fresh croutons. Saute until golden brown all over. Transfer to a plate.
Remove the garlic cloves from the pan you used to cook the croutons. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium in the pan. Add the onion, celery, carrots, sliced garlic, fennel, chile flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté until the onion is tender, about 8 minutes.
Add the chickpeas, broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and vinegar. Adjust the heat so the liquid simmers and cover the pan loosely with foil or with a large lid that is slightly askew so the pan isn't completely covered. Simmer until much of the liquid is absorbed and the chickpeas are very tender, 20-25 minutes. If the pan becomes dry, add more broth. You want this to look loose and brothy, but not like soup. Taste and add salt as needed (the amount can vary significantly depending on the saltiness of the broth).
Spoon the chickpeas into shallow bowls. Drizzle each bowl lightly with olive oil. Add fresh cracked pepper, fresh basil, and garlic croutons. Serve warm.