Chick peas, garbanzo beans, channa, ceci beans: whatever you call them, I am obsessed with these beautiful little legumes. Think about all of the things you can do with chick peas: stir them in with pasta, sprinkle them into salads, fry them into falafel, simmer them in curries, boil them in soups, fold them into casseroles, roast them to eat like snacks, mash them into hummus or eat them right out of the can.
Wait. Right out of the can?!
While I have to admit that I sometimes take the lazy way out and eat canned chick peas, there is NOTHING to match the flavor of a chick pea that you have prepared yourself. Canned beans are inexpensive to begin with, but dried beans are laughably cheap and super easy to prepare.
I started with a one-pound bag of dried chick peas from my mother's natural food store back in NY:
Since preparing beans on the stove top takes a while, I figured I might as well do the whole bag.
Rinse them and check for debris (dried beans and grains can have pebbles, sticks, and other foreign matter mixed in). Pour into a bowl with water to cover by 2-3 inches.
Leave them for 4-6 hours, or overnight.
They get humungous! these guys were even poking up out of the water.
Drain, then in a large pot, boil chick peas with enough water to cover 1-2 inches. Once boiling, add a piece of kombu (optional, but it reduces bloating and gas for you bean-dreading types) and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 2 hours, or until chick peas are tender. Drain to use right away, or store the chick peas in the fridge in their cooking juices for up to 7-10 days.
Look how much bigger they get!
I didn't want to mask their deliciousness with a recipe, so I prepared the chick peas my faaaaaaavorite way: sprinkled with olive oil and LOTS OF SALT. I ate them right away for dinner.
I had the same thing for lunch today. (don't worry, I had salad on the side, I'm not entirely fixated on the chick peas...)
Fun fact: Roman politician/philosopher Cicero's name comes from the Latin name for chick peas (cicer arietinum)!