Friday, December 30, 2011

Cooking Dried Garbanzo (and other) Beans

Closeup of Cooked Garbanzos
Cooked Garbanzos Ready for Hummus

Recipe from Frugal Living & other sources

Fast away the old year passes! It’s been a busy December, with lots of good cheer, friends, and family. As I take a short pause before New Year’s, here’s a simple end-of-the-year how-to guide for cooking beans when time is short.

Recently we made lemon hummus for low fat Christmas appetizers. I wanted to use some dried garbanzos we had on hand, but unfortunately hadn’t left enough time to soak the beans overnight, which reduces cooking time and makes beans more digestible. I remembered a trick I’d found on the internet for “Speed Soaking.” This is just washing the beans as usual, covering them with water in a pan, boiling them briefly and letting them soak in the hot water for awhile.

Soaking Garbanzos
Dried Garbanzos Soaking after First Boil
I used the instructions at Frugal Living for the garbanzos: cover garbanzos with 2 inches of water in saucepan, heat to boiling, simmer 5 minutes, turn off heat and let sit for one hour. Then drain, rinse, add fresh water, bring to boil and simmer until tender, about 1 hour. I actually cooked our garbanzos and extra 15 minutes, since they were quite dry and shriveled to begin with, and I wanted them soft and squishy for the hummus.

Four Cup Measure Filled to Six Cups with Garbanzos
From 2 Cups Dried Beans
This method works for any bean, and I’ve tried it with Northern (white) beans and pintos. Each type of bean requires different cooking time, so be sure not to overcook. This is most important if you’re not mashing the beans in the final dish, and most noticeable in cold salads. Northern beans are particularly apt to overcook, so you might try checking them after 45 minutes of cooking.

Note that size of beans doubles or triples  after cooking, depending on how dry they are. 2 cups of my (very) dried garbanzos made about 6 cups cooked beans.

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