Living and cooking with a vegetarian roommate means that I eat cheaply and healthily (for the most part). While Fiona doesn’t begrudge me the occasional chicken breast or fish fillet, I’ve learned to embrace legumes. Along with lentils, garbanzos have become one of our staples. It’s easy to make a big batch and keep them in the fridge to later toss on top of a salad. After a few batches of so-so garbanzos (including one that made the apartment smell like smoke for three days; suffice it to say that one should not read in bed while legumes are simmering on the stove), I finally feel confident enough to share my expertise with you.
First, cover your garbanzos with 2-3 inches of water and leave them to soak, preferably overnight. I have found a 24-hour soak to be most effective. When you’re ready to boil the garbanzos, drain them and move them to a pot. Again, cover them with 2-3 inches of water. Add a bay leaf, a generous pinch of salt, minced onion, pepper, and my secret ingredient: a dash of soy sauce. This is admittedly not very Spanish, but I think the soy sauce soaks into the beans much better than salt. (I haven’t specified quantities because it depends on how large your batch is, but keep in mind that you can always taste your garbanzos once they’re soft and adjust the seasoning from there).
Cover your pan and bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 2 – 2 1/2 hours or until your garbanzos are soft and delicious. If your stove is finicky like ours, it is a good idea to check in once and a while and add more water if necessary.
If you want to eat your garbanzos à la Jamie & Fiona, keep them covered in the fridge and toss them over a salad whenever you’re looking for a quick, delicious source of protein.
Those of you who know me may be wondering if you are hallucinating. Is that a TOMATO you see on my salad? Ahem. Well, I still don’t actively seek them out, but I do toss them on salad once in a while when I think the flavor will add to the dish. (For example, tomato and tuna make a surprisingly good combo.) Even I, the once tomato-hater and still tomato-ignorant, can tell you that tomatoes here have so much more flavor than the ones widely distributed in the US. This is not to say that the tomatoes that you lovingly tend in your stateside home garden are flavorless, but even the tomatoes you buy in the regular ol’ grocery store here are better. Really. And when you combine them with our delicious, flavorful garbanzos, what’s not to love?