I have a new-ish obsession with dried chickpeas. Mark Bittman told me in his cookbook How to Cook Everything Vegetarian that they're about a hundred times tastier than the ones from a can, and it turns out he wasn't lying. So here's how I cooked them today:
1 bag of dried chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), picked through for pebbles and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
one small onion, chopped
lots and lots of cloves of garlic (like 8-ish would be about right), smooshed with the side of a knife
To soak or not to soak?
I don't usually bother with soaking beans before cooking them, but chickpeas take forever otherwise so do yourself a favor and soak them the night before. Or else you can quick-soak them by covering them with water, bringing to a boil, turning off the heat, and then letting them sit, covered, for one hour. Whichever method you use, drain the soaking water and cover with some new water to cook them.
Put the beans in a pot and add enough water to cover. Throw in the smooshed garlic, the chopped onion, and the pepper and bring to a boil. Cook it, stirring occasionally, for about two hours or so, until they're soft. This takes a long time, even with the pre-soaking, so you'll probably want to call someone on the phone, or read a book, or cook some side disihes, or wash some laundry, or wash some dishes, or write a paper, or study for a test, or paint your nails, or do SOMETHING to amuse yourself while they're cooking. Ok? Don't say I didn't warn you.
Once they start to get soft, that's a good time to add some salt. Taste them and ask yourself, what delicious spices would go well here? This can vary a lot depending on your mood. If you are feeling under the weather, this would make an awesome broth+chickpeas for some chickpea-noodle-soup. Just add some carrots, some noodles, and if you want it to taste like my grandma cooked it, some fresh dill. And then you can tuck yourself into bed and sit around feeling sorry for yourself until your cold goes away.
Or, a less sick-in-bed variation:
Just now when I made this, I added some cooking sherry, and another onion, which I first chopped and sauteed with about 2 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin, and 3 cloves of finely-chopped garlic. (I like garlic, can you tell?) Then I added the sauteed stuff to the beans, deglazed the pan with some more sherry, poured that in too, and stirred. And guess what? It's yummmmmy.
I'm going to eat this for dinner next to some roasted brussels sprouts and some rice, and it's gonna be so tasty that my family and I eat it all up!
And watch out for a post about coffee cake, comign soon!