The True and Glorious Story of a Single Pot of Rancho Gordo Garbanzo Beans
In the kitchen Ingredient Spotlight Vegetarian
A friend was asking about a recipe that called for a cup of cooked beans and wanted to know how much she should cook to yield a cup. My feeling is that if you're going to cook beans, why not go ahead and cook a pound? At least half a pound. You can use them for your original intention and then continue to use the rest throughout the week as a valued ingredient. "I just get so tired of the same bean staring me in the face every time I open my fridge." Oh, really? The idea may be overwhelming but the reality is that a cooked pound of beans is a gift that goes on giving in your kitchen. I decided to make garbanzos (chickpeas) and document how I used them over the next few days. I love hummus but the idea of 6 cups (plus) of cooked garbanzos from a pound of dry beans might sound like a challenge, especially on a week when I'd be mostly eating alone. But a challenge is what I love and in the end, it was no real challenge at all. For cooking, I cooked one pound of Rancho Gordo Garbanzo beans, unsoaked, with 2 bay leaves and a spoonful of Rancho Gordo Sal Mixteca. Once the chickpeas were soft, I added some more salt and that was it. No onion, garlic or oil. If you're not comfortable with cooking beans, we have a whole page (and more) dedicated to making friends with beans. Here's what happened with my pot of garbanzos: Hummus This was a no brainer. Garbanzos, tahini, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt and parsely. I used a cup of cooked garbanzos for this. If you want to dig deeper, a previous post on hummus is here. Scrambled eggs with garbanzos and roasted bell pepper The next morning, I heated up some jarred roasted red peppers with minced onion in a little olive oil, then I stirred in some garbanzos. I think it's best to cook the eggs on their own and then gently toss them with the other ingredients, so that's what I did. Eggs poached in bean broth with nopales (cactus paddles) For my next breakfast, I heated up some cooked nopales and garbanzos in chicken broth and then poached an egg in it. I finished with a pinch of Rancho Gordo Oregano Indio. I easily could have dusted this with Parmesan cheese, but I didn't. I had previously fermented the nopales (similar to how I fermented these chiles) but you could use the jarred version (which are pickled) or simply cook fresh cactus, chop it, and then add it to the broth. The garbanzos and nopales are a great combination. You could also substitute roasted poblano peppers for the cactus. Garbanzo pie with roasted carrots and greens This may look ambitious but it's a no-brainer. I had some previously cooked chard and roasted carrots. I sauteed them in olive oil and added more of the garbanzos. This iron pan is from Blu Skillet and it's one of my favorite cooking pieces. I went a little nuts and I have 2 frying pans and one French skillet from them. I much prefer them to cast iron and the only disadvantage is the price and the lack of availability. If you're interested, sign up for their sale list and then do not hesitate as all the pieces will sell out within an hour. After the vegetables and beans were warm, I added a piece of store-bought puff pastry I had from the freezer. This goes right on top of the filling in the same pan. I baked it at 375F for about 20 minutes. The top should be golden and the filling should be bubbling. Be smarter than me and don't touch the handle that has been in a hot oven. Use oven mitts or a dish towel. I wish I had a finite number for the times that I've done this. Ouch. The puff pastry was OK but I think I would prefer the weirdness of filo dough. It looks more dramatic and I like the dough better. A plain savory pie dough would also be welcome. It wasn't a conscious decision but apparently I saved the best for last. I had just received a copy of the new book, Acquacotta by Emiko Davis (Hardie Grant Books, 2017) and was leafing through it and found Taglioni con Ceci. I thought, I have all of these ingredients. Let's do this tonight. It was very easy. I had to adapt it a bit (I had dried linguini) but I do believe I kept the spirit. I sauteed a large sprig of fresh rosemary with 2 whole cloves of garlic in plenty of olive oil, very low, for about 20 minutes. The oil is infused and the smell is insane. I removed the rosemary and I'm sure a true Tuscan would remove the garlic, but I left it in. I added what was left of my garbanzos (and I know you're going to ask me how much and I'm going to have to tell you I wasn't paying attention but I'd guess about a cup and a half). I pureed the beans with an immersion blender and added enough bean broth to make a thin sauce. Actually, I added too much and the sauce was too thin but it was easy enough to correct by turning up the heat and letting the sauce reduce. I cooked the pasta to just before al dente and then added it to the garbanzo sauce and let it finish cooking. Then came about 1/3 of a cup of grated pecorino cheese and a large handful of flat leaf parsley, crudely chopped. All was tossed gently. I was expecting this to be "nice" and a way to use up the last of the garbanzos. I was wrong. It was great and I think it's a reason to make chickpeas on its own. My son Nico and I looked at each other and smiled. This dish is a keeper. It tastes nothing like an Alfredo sauce but it's the same indulgent feeling. There were leftovers but Nico wanted them for his school lunch. In an instant, there were no more garbanzos. I didn't break a sweat thinking of how to use a pound in a week and this was to feed less than two people. This is how our tale ends and for me, it's a very happy ending.