I never really bothered to try cooking with dry beans. I know, everyone sings their praises and insists that canned beans pale in comparison, but the convenience factor is really invaluable (especially after I bought a case – yes, a case – of canned chickpeas from Wild Oats). That said, I’ve always intended to cook with dry beans when I had the time, the inclination, and the right recipe. So on Sunday, when I had several free hours, a craving for chickpeas (what else is new), and an enticing recipe from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian that required dry beans in order to utilize the cooking liquid, I gave it a go. It’s 95% hands-off, but you will need a good 3- to 4-hour window of free time.
1 lb dry chickpeas
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup tahini
1T lemon juice
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Paprika to garnish (optional)
FIRST, SOAK THE BEANS… Rinse the dry beans and put them in a large saucepan. Cover them with cold water by about two inches. Bring to a boil, uncovered, then turn the heat off entirely, put the lid on, and walk away for two hours.
NEXT, COOK THE BEANS… Drain the beans in a colander and put them back in the pot. Add two quarts (8 cups) of water (or sub vegetable broth for half the liquid). Bring to a boil again, uncovered, then turn the heat down to low, put the lid on, and walk away for 1-2 hours.
When you come back, it’s go time. Throw in the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, and cayenne. Blend until smooth, however you want—in batches in a food processor, in batches in a blender, or all once with a hand blender (easiest!).
So creamy! Sample a bite, and add salt and pepper till it tastes best to you. Ladle into a bowl, dust with a sprinkle of paprika, and enjoy. It’s velvety, filling, and nutritious, and it’s even better the next day.
Yield: 6-8 servings. Per serving (6): 301 calories, 9.3g fat (1.2 sat), 42.6g carbs, 12g fiber, 14.6g protein.
Per serving (8): 226 calories, 7g fat (.9g sat), 32g carbs, 9g fiber, 11g protein