Cook A Pot of Chickpeas, Eat For A Week

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Here’s an idea for your weekend, and really there’s not much to it. While you’re sitting around on Sunday, reading the paper or doing a marathon of Orange is the New Black, bring a big pot of water to a boil. Drop in half an onion (leave the skin on), a carrot, a piece of celery and a whole head of garlic. Then pour in a big bag of dried chickpeas. If you’re bold, add a pinch of salt (though some say this changes the texture; I haven’t found that to be true). Lower to a simmer and cook for 20 to 40 minutes, tasting after 20 to see how far they have to go. Keep ’em going until they’re incredibly creamy on the inside (it’s tempting to stop when they’re merely edible, but creamy is what you’re going for), adding more salt as they chug along to help ensure that they get seasoned all the way to the center. When they’re seasoned and creamy, take the pot off the heat and allow it to come to room temperature. Then pop it in the fridge. What now?

There’s so much you can do.

You can make that roasted beet and carrot salad I told you about and spoon on these special chickpeas to add protein (and substance):

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Or, if you have leftover pork stew (I forgot to post about it but I promise, I will next week) but not enough pork in there to make it a dinner, add some chickpeas to the cooking liquid and cook them down together and serve with roasted potatoes:

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Make your heavenly hummus even more heavenly; supposedly that’s the case when you use chickpeas you’ve cooked yourself (and even more the case if you peel them, which I’m too lazy to do).

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There’s also Lebanese chickpea stew, chickpea curry, pasta with chickpeas, bacon and spinach, roasted chickpeas, butternut squash and chickpea salad and that frittata with Spanish chickpea salad I just told you about. (Why do I feel like that guy from Forrest Gump?)

Sure, you could buy a bunch of cans and save yourself the trouble, but this way is both cheaper and better. The texture of chickpeas you cook yourself are firmer, creamier, more substantial. You’ll notice the difference, I promise.

So get yourself some dried chickpeas, get yourself a pot, and get busy. Your next week’s meals will be that much better for it.

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36 comments

  1. A while! At least 3 days; I still have my pot in there from Sunday and I may still use them (though that may be risky. Hard to say).

  2. That’s great! By the way, that roasted beet & carrot salad is a work of art. Can’t wait to make it tomorrow after a trip to the farmers’ market!

  3. actually, very easy. the skin just pops right off of the cooked chickpea. You just kind of pinch the chickpea. Easy but time consuming!

  4. Peeling chickpeas does make for better hummus, but it’s not worth the time unless you are really trying to impress people.

  5. Well, I guess it just depends on perspective. I love the texture of hummus when it’s peeled. So it’s sometimes worth it when I sit in front of the t.v. with the bowl of chickpeas. I believe that the author of Jerusalem, Yotam Ottolenghi, has a great method for hummus that comes out smooth and delicious but I haven’t tried it yet (adding baking soda to the soaking water)

  6. Have you tried soaking them for 3-4 hours or even better overnight?I would imagine that would speed things up on the stove…Which is the way I do it. Another trick I use to throw in a tea bag of classic black tea (no fancy flavors), it may sound weird but trust me I’ve always had people go “hmmm what is that flavor?” in a good way and no one could guess it. It gives the stew a deep, bold, hearty flavor

  7. I need to try adding the veggies and garlic. My prior attempts at cooking garbanzos to make hummus and whatnot turned out disappointingly bland.

  8. Not sure I understand the instructions. What about the onion skins and garlic skins. Will they not be a problem in the finished product? Just ignore them, or what? Thanks.

  9. I love chickpeas, but haven’t ever found any dried around here to cook. (I also love “Orange is the New Black,” too. The hubs and I have been watching it every night.

  10. You must be using Magic Beans. An unsoaked bean reaching a “creamy” texture in 20-40 minutes? Not with the Dried Beans from my store. What brand are you using?

  11. Bought them at the farmer’s market, actually, so they were pretty fresh. That said, you’re right: soaking them the night before will definitely speed up the process. It may have been closer to an hour for these.

  12. Mine was about 16 ounces, I think, so almost a pound. That said, you can use this technique for any amount, small or large. Just use a bigger pot.

  13. You might add North African style couscous to your list of chickpea applications, but it may require a trip to the market if you don’t have all the ingredients on hand. It’s easy to make your own harissa.

  14. I adore chickpeas!!
    I make a chickpea salad – kind of like tuna salad but with a vinegrette, i semi-smash them with a fork and add finely chopped celery, onion and pickle for wraps and sandwiches.
    I always end up freezing my leftovers, they hold up well

  15. I confess I hadn’t bought dried chickpeas in years. The long cooking time and need to soak first just didn’t suit my somewhat impulsive kitchen habits. I don’t like deciding today what I’ll eat tomorrow.

    But after reading your post I thought I’d give it a go again. Cooked about 250g (roughly half a pound), stuck them in the fridge. Some I just snacked on, some went into a summery stew with courgette, tomatoes and garlic, and some I ate in pitta bread with a dressing of tahini, olive oil and lemon juice – a sort of deconstructed hummus. What’s left will beef up a porcini and spinach soup for tomorrow’s lunch. Unless I change my mind and make something else…

    Thanks for the suggestion, Adam. I don’t think I’ve commented before, but I really enjoy reading your blog and getting ideas from it.

  16. The closest health food store with bulk-food bins is the next county over, rods_n_cones. It’s a local co-op. I rarely visit that county, but I guess I could check it out to see if they have chickpeas. Thanks!

  17. Easiest way I’ve found is to spread them out on a tea towel (or strong non-ripping paper towel), top with an other towel, and sort of rub them or roll them around under the towel with your hands. (So your hands are flat on top of a towel/chickpea sandwich, moving the chickpeas around. Do that for a minute, and all (most) of the skins will have popped off and are sitting on top of the layer of chickpeas, and you just gather em up.

  18. These lovely legumes last longer in the fridge than you are giving them credit for. I have used them after 5 days as long as they are kept COLD in the fridge and the container is impeccably clean when you store the chix in there. The added salt will also prolong their shelf life. But then you must use them up and not push your luck. I make my own hummos from scratch with the dried garbanzos and it is WORTH it. Don’t forget to put a halved lemon in while the beans are cooking and bring them to a FULL ROLLING BOIL so they don’t remain chalky in the middle.

  19. I’ve found that the best place to buy them is an Indian grocery store. I got some the other day for $1.29 a pound. Also, some health food grocers sell them in the bins with the other beans.

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