All posts tagged: beans

Sauteed Chickpeas

What do you do with chickpeas after you’ve made hummus? I love cooking my own chickpeas in the pressure cooker. Chickpeas have a sweet taste and a creamy, meaty feeling when you bite into them.*Tim, my youngest son, is addicted to them. When he saw me cooking for this post, he refused to eat his pepperoni sandwich, and insisted on chickpeas. Can you imagine? A kid turning down pepperoni for beans?I top salads with chickpeas, and stir them into soup. Of course, there’s lots and lots of hummus. But after that, I didn’t know what to do. How do I use up the batch of chickpeas stored in the freezer? Sauteed chickpeas are the answer.  They are the star of the show, not something to use as a topping. Sauteing chickpeas gives them a hint of crunch as you bite into them, before you get to the creamy interior. Toss them them in a vinaigrette to add a tart finish, and you have chickpeas that are good enough to stand on their own. As usual, …

Refried Pinto Beans

Earlier this week, I said that brothy beans are my favorite side dish with a Mexican meal. My kids love Diane’s homemade tortillas above all other foods, so we have a lot of Mexican meals at my house. The kids’ top 5 favorite foods of all time:1. Tortillas2. White Rice3. Pizza4. Chicken Lettuce Wraps5. Brats(Oh, and of course, Banquet Chicken Nuggets. Oh, the shame. But when we’re trying to get the kids fed for the babysitter so we can go out to a real, grown-up dinner, compromises have to be made…) Even though I love them, with how often we eat tortillas, brothy beans can get repetitive. For something different, I make refried beans using leftover brothy beans from my freezer. With some help from my food processor I can quickly get refried beans on the table. And…the kids will sometimes eat them. Timmy, my youngest, is turning into a beanivore. That’s a word, right? Well, it is, if you’ve watched Timmy eating beans. I had to do a sales job to convince him that these …

Pressure Cooker Pinto Beans in a Tex-Mex Broth

Pressure Cooker Pinto Beans in Tex-Mex Broth

I consider beans an essential side dish for Tex-Mex meals. Give me some tortillas, some salsa, and a bowl of brothy beans, and I’m a happy guy. While there’s nothing wrong with plain beans, seasoned with a little salt, I like to boost the flavor with some aromatics, spices, and…bacon. This is a cowboy cooking* inspired version of beans, from the north of Mexico and south of Texas, where pinto beans are the local bean of choice, and culinary ideas have been crossing the border for years. It’s a little more south of the border, more Caballero than Cowboy, but what it really is nowadays is the perfect example of a Tex-Mex dish using the best of both worlds. *Cue Blazing Saddles clip…”How ’bout some more beans, boss?” “I’d say you’ve had enough!” My inner 13 year old giggles every time I think about it. I’m using a “brine the beans while soaking” technique I learned from Cooks Illustrated. I sort and soak the beans the night before, or first thing in the morning; by …

Pressure Cooker French Lentils

Here is another recipe from my tests of the Kuhn Rikon Family Style 12 quart pressure cooker. Lentil stew with rice has been in heavy rotation in my house for the last year or so. It is one of the key recipes in my dinner plan for Meatless Mondays; we have it every two or three weeks. Beans and rice are one of the few vegetarian combinations that fill me up. Most vegetarian meals leave me thinking “that tasted great – where’s the rest of dinner?” I don’t have that reaction when the meal has beans; they’re hearty enough to fill me up.  But, eating lentils every two or three weeks gets a little repetitive.  I’m always looking for variations on beans and rice.*If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you’re probably amazed that someone who posts as many meat recipes as I do eats vegetarian once a week. I’m trying to do what I can to help our planet by eating lower on the food chain. Will I ever become a full time vegetarian? …

Pressure Cooker Chickpeas

Chickpeas are one of my pantry staples. I always keep some on hand, so I can make hummus as a quick appetizer. For years, those pantry chickpeas were in cans. Then I learned how easy it is to cook chickpeas in a pressure cooker. But homemade chickpeas have a deeper flavor, and a creamier mouthfeel. And the bean cooking liquid is delicious – it adds another layer of flavor to any recipe you use it in. Try some homemade chickpeas; you will be surprised at how much better they taste.  Recipe: Pressure Cooker Chickpeas Equipment: 6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I used a Fagor 10 quart Duo pressure cooker when I wrote the recipe; my new favorite is the electric Instant Pot Duo) Notes: *I confess – I still keep a can or two of chickpeas in the pantry. But I’ve been using them less and less. This recipe makes four two cup servings. That is, four servings, each two cups in size.  Is there a better way to say that?  It sounds awkward.  Anyhow…I use one …

Pressure Cooker Beans (Basic Technique)

Here’s another killer application for my pressure cooker.  Dried beans, cooked in under an hour. I do something that will sound a little weird. I use my pressure cooker to make dried beans…and then freeze them. I know, I know. You would think a pressure cooker would be best for making beans just before you use them. And it is – fresh made pressure cooker beans are much better than beans that come out of a can. But so are dried beans that are pressure cooked, then frozen. The cooking liquid from homemade beans has a lot of flavor in it, and it tastes good even when frozen. The liquid in canned beans? It’s not good; throw it away. *Lorna Sass taught me this trick, in her The Pressured Cook cookbook – she sings the praises of make ahead beans, and I’m passing the word along. Lorna knows what she’s talking about. **I freeze my beans in two cup containers; that way, they replace the 1.5 cups of beans you get in a “regular sized” …

Lentil stew, Umbrian style

This recipe is another example of how to vary the flavor profile of a dish.  I’m using the basic technique from my Lentil Dal stew.  We’ll change the flavor from Indian to Italian by switching some of the aromatics and spices.*Oh, and by adding a little pancetta.  You can never go wrong when you add a little bacon to your beans.I also get to use some fennel from my CSA box.  Only a few more bulbs to go! Recipe: Lentil Stew, Umbrian Style Ingredients: 1 slice pancetta, diced (or 2 slices thick-cut bacon) 1 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, diced 1 fennel bulb, diced 1 tsp kosher salt 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed pinch hot red pepper flakes (optional) 2 sprigs fresh thyme 1 small sprig fresh rosemary (No more than 4 inches long) 1 lb lentils, (preferrably Umbrian Lentils or Lentils Du Puy) picked over and rinsed 4 cups water 4 cups chicken stock (Homemade stock, please.  If you don’t have homemade, use water instead) salt and pepper to taste Directions:1. Sort and rinse the …

Slow Cooker White Beans with Greens and Italian Sausage

When fall arrives, and the weather starts to get cold, I crave stews.  Especially hearty, bean based stews, with big flavors.  This recipe fits the bill – white beans, sausage and kale make for a perfect dinner on a crisp, fall day. This recipe was inspired by a recent article in Bon Appetit, on how to use a pot of white beans to make five different dinners.  While I loved the article, and enjoy reading Bon Appetit, I didn’t post this article right away.  I think I’m having second-hand survivor’s guilt.  Why did they close down Gourmet magazine?  Why?  Sure, the recipes in Bon Appetit were more practical.  But the food writing in Gourmet was second to none.  I loved the editorial direction that Ruth Reichl used.  Rest in peace, Gourmet.  Come back soon, if you can. Hey, it worked for Christopher Kimball and Cook’s Illustrated… **PS: Mr. Kimball?  Interesting article, but I have to say that blaming people like me, who are some of your biggest fans, for the demise of a magazine that we …

Lentil stew, Dal style

Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything was the first general purpose cookbook I bought. Unfortunately…I didn’t like it. The recipes are very stripped down, and I could tell. Some were simplified to the point of missing out on some of the flavors in the dish. That, and I’m obsessive. And since I’m obsessive, once I found Cooks Illustrated, I felt right at home. Years passed, and I stumbled across Bittman’s Minimalist column in the New York Times. It’s become one of my favorite food resources. Maybe it’s because I’ve learned enough about cooking to appreciate a recipe stripped down to its bare bones? Or where to fill in the blanks? Either way, I get my daily fix from his blog, Bitten. Once a week I find myself flagging a recipe for future use. This particular recipe has quickly become one of my favorites. It’s a weeknight meal that has an Indian flavor profile I really love. It’s a soupy, stewy mix of lentils (dal) and aromatic vegetables, with a hit of curry to give it …

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

In (belated) celebration of Fat Tuesday, here’s my slow cooker red beans and rice recipe. I’m almost* embarrassed to post it as a separate recipe, since it’s very similar to the caribbean black beans and rice I described yesterday. You can use this as an example of how minor changes to the flavor profile of a recipe can give you very different results.*Almost. I got over it. Recipe: Slow Cooker Red Beans and RiceEquipment: 6 quart or larger slow cooker (Crock pot brand is fine, but I like my fancy ones from All-Clad and KitchenAid) Ingredients: Beans: 1 lb red kidney beans, sorted and rinsed 1 onion, peeled and halved 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 1 bay leaf 8 cups water Aromatics: 1 tbsp olive oil 16oz Andouille sausage, diced (optional, substitute Kielbasa if you can’t find Andouille) 1 onion, diced 1 green pepper, diced 1 stalk celery, diced 1 tsp salt 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 tbsp Cajun seasonings 1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 sprig fresh thyme) 1 tsp hot sauce (optional, …

Slow Cooker Caribbean Black Beans and Rice

I have three young, picky eaters at home. The book that helped us get through this tragedy is “Child of Mine” by Ellyn Satter. Her theory is a division of responsibility at the dinner table – a parent’s job is to put a healthy meal on the table; the kid’s job is to figure out if they’re going to eat or not.* And have good table manners while they do it. No whining! Hint – always serve bread and milk, and they won’t starve. This has worked for us, sort of – we usually don’t get into life or death power struggles with a 7 year old over dinner. But, two of my three kids won’t eat ANY vegetables, and one of them won’t even eat fruit. I keep hoping that they’ll come around, like Ellyn says they will, but I haven’t seen any evidence of it after five years. So, I’ve started to try to push “just a taste” of things I think they might actually eat. Of course, this results in the aforementioned …

Basic Technique: Slow Cooker Dried Beans

[Updated 9/10/2010:] Warning: kidney beans have a natural toxin in them that is only destroyed by heating them to boiling temperatures (212F, 100C) for ten minutes.  I’ve updated this technique to boil any beans for 10 minutes before putting them in the slow cooker; make sure you don’t skip this new step, particularly with red or white kidney beans.  More details available here:Slow Cookers and Red Kidney Bean Poisoning. I’m a big fan of beans; this is the technique that introduced me to the joys of a simple pot of beans.* *Beans, beans, the magic fruit. The more you eat, the more you…yes, I’m really an 8 year old, why do you ask? With this recipe, you can have beans that are cheaper and taste much better than canned beans. And, it’s remarkably easy. It will take you less time to have the beans going than it will for you to read this blog post.** The recipe freezes well, so you can make a big batch and always have homemade beans ready for you. **OK, …