A Bean By Any Other Name: Garbanzo, Ceci, Chickpea

Top (L to R) Garbanzo beans with kalamata olives, roasted peppers, lemon & olive oil, accompanied with roasted goat cheese stuffed figs wrapped with prosciutto. With parsley, vinegar and olive oil. Bottom (L to R): With whole wheat pasta, saute of greens, shredded cheese, and prosciutto. With brown rice, peppers, pistachios, olive oil, and vinegar.

I know I’ve been down this road with earlier posts. I’m a big fan of the legume and in our house, they’re almost always prepped and on hand for any number of uses. Our pressure cooker makes easy work of cooking dry beans. It takes a good 30 minutes to go from dry to tender. And because we don’t buy them in cans, we’re not only saving money, we’re reducing waste.

The ceci bean (or garbanzo or chickpea or Egyptian pea) cooks just as quickly as any other hard, dry bean in spite of their rough and tough exterior. I love these beans for their firm texture and their warm, nutty flavor. Never mind that they’re packed with fiber and protein as well as a host of minerals including calcium and phosphorus. Most of us know them in pureed form as hummus, but we eat them in a variety of ways – whole in salads, as an addition to brothy soups, as a spread on bruschetta and as a companion to whole wheat pastas.

After picking over the dry beans to remove dirt and rocks, give them a good rinse and then place them in a bowl and cover with plenty of water before soaking them overnight. After soaking, rinse the beans well and place them in a large stock pot, cover with fresh water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer beans for approximately one and a half hours or until just tender. They should be completely softened. This isn’t an instance where you want ‘al dente’ centers. You can skip the soaking step if you’re using a pressure cooker. Be sure to reduce the cooking time to approximately 25 minutes. You’ll want to release the pressure after 15 minutes to check them. Adjust the remaining cooking time accordingly.

Dry Garbanzo Beans

Cooked ceci beans are fine hot, but they’re even better at room temperature. Simply dressed with extra virgin olive oil, fresh chopped parsley, course sea salt and a dash of red wine vinegar, these beauties offer up a hearty, comforting bite.

Cheers,
Steve & Jason

3 thoughts on “A Bean By Any Other Name: Garbanzo, Ceci, Chickpea

Food for thought.

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