Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hey Chickpea

We went to the grocery store on Sunday morning to shop for the week. We've started a nice routine where we all go together so I'm not trying to do it all myself and entertain Mr. Short Attention Span. Once he's done shopping and sampling one of us takes him to the play area while the other finishes up. Anyway, I picked a recipe for Chana Masala which calls for two cans of chickpeas. But the only ones they had at the store were very expensive and I just couldn't do it. So on a whim, I bought the dried beans. I know that many of you use dried beans all the time so maybe this isn't all that big of a deal. BUT to me it was. I've cooked dried beans in the past and have never felt all that impressed with my results so I almost always return to the ever convenient can. This time it was a success and I'll tell you what I did.

2 cups dried beans (my guesstimate for the recipe that called for 2 cans)
Water, water, water
2 carrots cut into chunks
1 onion, quartered
2 juniper berries
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp coarse salt, I used a Hawaiian black salt

I used a teapot to quickly boil some water. Rinse and sort the beans and put into a large pot. Cover beans with two inches of the boiling water and let soak for about an hour, add 1 tsp salt (eyeball it). The beans will increase in size by about double. Pour out that water and fill the pot with fresh cold water and cover the beans by about two inches again. Add the remaining ingredients (including the new salt) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer for about an hour until beans are tender but not too soft. This method helps to keep the beans intact without rupturing the skin. Then I went on with the recipe for Chana Masala which was also pretty good. But I have to say that the beans were the crowning victory of the day and the dish. I'm just happy it worked out. How do you cook your beans?

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