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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cheap-Ass Lunches: Chickpeas with Lemon and Parmesan

I'm chilling my first bowl of this, but, you know, it's not bad for $2 and enough food for five lunches at work... Oh, right, then you have to add whatever amount of parmesan you choose to indulge in so there goes another $6. Ha.

Instead of using canning chickpeas like the recipe I saw somewhere, I decided to do a toned-down version of Jamie Oliver's funky/rustic borlotti beans recipe, and then finishing it off the in a mix between his and her's.

I've used chickpeas as per the chickpea cold salad I saw, but here's the part of Jamie's recipe I kicked it off with:

2 cups dried chickpeas (soaked overnight)
1 big roma tomato, halved
1 nugget potato, skin on and halved
3-6 cloves garlic, depending on your bravado
lil' handful of kosher salt

Cover with plenty of water, bring to a boil, then take to a good rolling simmer for 60-90 minutes, whatever it takes to get the beans to the happy soft place you like.

Skim the crap off the top, often.

Strain most of the water out. You can leave a little if you like, especially if you're wanting a lower-fat version of this and opt to omit most of the oil, like I have.

Put the garlic, potato, and tomato in a small bowl and allow to cool. Let the beans chill out a bit. Seriously, let them get cool or room temp, because this is better at that temperature, which I remember the original recipe saying. (Lost the bookmark!)

(You now need lemon and parmesan and olive oil, should you go the oil route.)

After the veggies have cooled, slip the spud, garlic, and tomato out of their skins, and mash 'em all up into a puree. Mix this puree with the beans, and if you choose to use really high-quality olive oil (cheap shit will taste like cheap shit, so maybe stick to the bean water as your liquid base), here's where you glug it over the beans till you're satisfied.

Take a couple of good lemons, three even, and pour the juice all over the beans. If you're into it, a little zest doesn't hurt, but chop the zest into a fine mince first. Now you add some kosher or sea salt, cracked black pepper, and a whole bunch of good quality grated parmesan (or padano or asiago or reggiano...). Mix it up, and serve.

The original recipe loved it as a cheap work lunch, which is exactly what I'm doing.

Now that it's cooled down a bit, I'm really digging the simplicity of it. I think I'd make it again at this point. Gonna think on how I might improve it. Flat-leaf parsley might be nice, in thin threads. I guess one could actually build up on it from this point. Chop up some shallots, thin slices of red and yellow pepper, and it's a whole 'nother vehicle. Maybe even diced hot red pepper.

I think I'm going to continue trying to be a cheaper chef. It's working out well. Stuff like butter chicken, like I had at GayBoy's last night, strike me as frivolous now, as it just doesn't go far enough or have enough food value. Besides, it's all fat. :)

This, though... This'll be good chowing-during-captioning work-type food. Totally! Now... will it freeze? Only one way to find out. Good cycling food.

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