Monday, May 21, 2012

Easy Chick Peasy: Garbanzo Beans or Chick Peas for Beginners

I eat a lot of hummus. A lot. I love it. Loved it since I was a kid. I buy organic hummus and it just kills me to pay $4 or $5 for about fifty cents worth of ingredients in a little plastic tub.  I also like chick peas in salads, soups and curries but cans of organic beans aren't cheap, and really, it's just BEANS. Hello? What's even worse, is I know how to cook dried beans. Perfectly. If you can turn on the tap and fill a pot worth water you can cook your own chick peas or garbanzo beans, too!

Yours will look like this after a nice 8 hour+ salt water soak.
Bean Spa.
This is hardly a recipe, but my feeling is to start with organic products wherever and whenever possible. While organic beef may be hard on the budget, organic beans aren't.   So ante up get yourself a pound of organic dried chick peas. Haul out the box of kosher salt.  Dump the beans out and look them over for any field debris (like dirt clumps or pebbles) or funky looking beans and toss those. Rinse them well and place in a big bowl. Dissolve a tablespoon of kosher salt in two quarts of water and pour the salted water over the beans and soak them overnight or while you are at work. They'll be fairly well hydrated in 8 hours or so, and will cook quickly as long as they aren't old beans. Remember to buy your beans in a place that sells plenty and turns them over fast. Drain the beans and rinse. The salt added in the soaking water helps flavor the beans without toughening them up. 

Put them in a big pot, cover by about 2" with fresh, cool water and bring the pot to a boil, then turn the heat to a simmer. If you want to really dootz the flavor up in this, before you put the soaked garbanzos and water in the pot, saute some onions, garlic , celery and carrot, all minced in a bit of olive oil until slightly softened, then add the beans and water and proceed. But you'll be fine without. 

See the little edges curling up? These beans are done.
Let cook about a 40 minutes and then check the beans. Taste one and it should be easy to break apart in your mouth but not soft. Add about 1 Tablespoon of kosher salt to the simmering pot, and cook up to another half hour until, when you lift the beans from the pot and blow on them, the thin skin lifts away from the bean. See the picture? Taste. They should, at this point be soft and perfectly seasoned. 

A head start on work lunches? No?
Let them cool in the bean broth, then place in a covered container, pour in enough of the cooking broth to cover them, seal the container and store in the fridge to use as you wish. Fast, fresh, easy, cheap. Like some people I used to...excuse me, Hahaha! Anyway, these are ready to eat. Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, grain free, and utterly delicious. Will keep about a week refrigerated, if they aren't eaten long before that.

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