Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Balancing the Act for Garbanzo

Garbanzo: Lean and tasty
A plant  based diet offers incredible opportunity to be creative at the produce stand.  To compliment a few items, I chose some garbanzo beans for a center of plate recipe. You can say 'Garbanzo' or chose the alter name of  'Chickpea'.  Either way the legume is a fantastic protein entree particularly when I use them  in a clean, simple way.  In the past, I have added garbanzos as an ingredient in many ways and cuisines but it was not until I was invited to Key Biscayne, Florida for a few days to water ski and snorkel that I encountered a Chef from the Basque area of Spain who showed me the simplest, most enjoyable way to eat garbanzos with the fewest but most complimentary produce.  Many times garbanzos are overcooked, mushie or done as a compliment to paella, meat, fish or poultry dishes.  This preparation stands on its own, as center of plate, lean and fresh. The nutritional data speaks for itself.

For convenient quickie and to save time I could easily reach for a can.  I always rinse off the canning liquid to get rid of salt and sugars.  But if you want to really showcase something with a little more integrity, use dried legumes and soaked overnight.

Garbanzo in the Basque Style
1/2 lb dried garbanzo, soaked over night
1 cup vegetable stock or broth
2 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and cut thin

3 tbl finely diced green peppers
3 tbl finely diced white or yellow
1 tbl each chopped parsley and cilantro
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper

Bring the vegetable stock to simmer and add garlic and garbanzo beans.  Simmer gently partially covering with a lid for about 20 minutes.  Remove to a bowl.  Wipe out the pan and return to medium heat.

Add the olive oil and then the peppers and red onion.  Saute lightly for 3 minutes.  Add the garbanzo with any simmering broth, the herbs, and lemon juice.  Cook another 3 minutes.  Season to taste, and finish by cooking 2-3 minutes longer.  The beans will be slightly crunchy.  Add a bit more stock and cook a bit longer if you want them cooked through completely.