I’m a sucker for chickpeas, so I when I came across a recipe in Heidi Swanson’s book, Super Natural Cooking, involving giant cannellini beans, I knew I had to try it with chickpeas. Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, were yet another staple in our house. Generally dumped into a bowl straight out of the can, sometimes warmed on the stove, my dad pronounces them “gardabanzo “ beans. With the stress of the second “a”. Too bad you can’t hear his accent in my head.
Yes, he figured out how to grow grapes at just about 700 ft above sea level. In the tropics, in Hawaii. Aside from his constant battle with Japanese beetles eating the leaves off his vines, the fruit is doing just fine. My mom’s counters are littered with old wine bottles with bits of fruit fermenting in them. My dad is awesome.
This recipe is inspired by Heidi’s Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans. My version involves chickpeas, garlic, cilantro, sun-dried tomatoes and butter. Lots and lots of butter. I’m not French, but my love for high quality cultured butter is. We could just call the recipe: Chickpeas with Cilantro and lots and lots of butter. The special thing about butter in this recipe is that it creates a creamy, crunchy, golden crust on the bean. They look like little suns to me. When you bite into one of these chickpeas you get a burst of buttery joy in your mouth. I love this recipe.
I picked up the garlic and cilantro at the Gathering Together Farm booth at the farmers’ market. Organic, of course. Beautiful, no?
You could use canned chickpeas, but I prefer dried beans that I’ve soaked myself.
Soak chickpeas overnight. Be sure to add plenty of water to the bowl as the beans soak up more than you would expect.
Drain and rinse chickpeas
Place beans in a pot and add enough water to cover plus about 3 inches or so.
Simmer over medium to medium low heat for a couple of hours. They’ll cook in less time, but I like to cook my beans long and slow.
While the beans are cooking, place sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil) in a bowl and add boiling hot water.
Let soak for about 10 minutes
Drain and slice or chop tomatoes to your liking
Drain the cooked beans
Heat a few tablespoons or so of butter over medium heat in your largest skillet
Place beans in hot skillet in a single layer (you can do this in batches)
Stir to coat and let cook for about 4 minutes
Give it a good stir, or use a spatula to flip the beans, and let cook for another 4 minutes. At this point I add another chunk or so of butter. Not necessary, but darn tasty.
Towards the end of the 4 minutes, add garlic, salt, pepper and tomatoes and give it another quick sauté.
Place in platter or bowl and finish with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and fresh goat cheese. I used Capricho de Cabra for this batch. Capricho is one of my favorite Spanish goat cheeses. Clean, crisp and tangy, this cheese tastes like it’s been washed in fresh spring water. Yum.
Serve chickpeas with whatever sounds good to you. I’m thinking lightly fried sardines and a Vinho Verde.
Thanks to all of you for the wonderful feedback on last weeks launch of this blog and my site. You helped to make it a success!