People who know me well — and those of you who have been paying attention in this blog — know that one of my food foibles is beans.
I love green beans and yellow wax beans, but other than that — blech! While I’ve learned to love many foods that I detested as a child, my bean phobia has lingered into adulthood.
It’s a texture thing. As much as possible, I avoid baked beans, chili beans, black beans, navy beans, kidney beans … you get the picture.
Garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) fall somewhere in the middle on my bean like-dislike scale. They have a bit more firmness to them than the others, but I don’t exactly go out of my way to consume them. I do, however, like to say garbanzo.
When I saw a TV chef demonstrate how she turns garbanzos into a crunchy snack, I knew I had to give it a try, particularly since I’ve heard a lot recently about the health benefits of garbanzos/chickpeas. They are rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber; a good source of protein; an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese — important in energy production; have high iron content; can stabilize blood sugar levels; and are heart healthy.
Daphne Brogdon is a relative newcomer to the Food Network, hosting “Daphne Dishes,” which I’ve only watched a couple of times. For an episode called “Girls’ Night In,” she made Crispy Garbanzo Beans.
I have to admit that one of the things that piqued my interest in her recipe was a not-so-healthy addition. She coated the garbanzos in bacon fat before baking them. But a healthier oil, like olive oil, can also be used in its place.
But I was all for the bacon fat, so one weekend morning when we were having bacon for breakfast, I saved some of the bacon fat in the refrigerator, saving me the burden of having to cook and consume additional bacon just for this recipe.
Brogdon’s recipe also called for flavoring the beans with a sprig of fresh rosemary. Alas — no rosemary in my refrigerator, and my herb garden is buried under a snowbank. Instead, I went to the spice cupboard and pulled out a mixture of savory and hot spices. Next time, I think I will turn up the heat a bit more with some cayenne.
I will also pull them out of the oven a bit sooner. My batch was a bit more on the crunchy side rather than crispy — the texture of a corn nut.
Two 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
4 strips bacon (or use your favorite healthy oi)
Salt to taste
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Spread out the garbanzos on a baking sheet and let them dry, uncovered, in the refrigerator overnight. (If you forget to let them dry overnight, it’s OK; you’ll just need to cook them longer.)
Place the bacon in a large skillet over medium-low heat and cook until browned and crispy, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate; reserve the fat in the pan. Eat the bacon as snack while you cook.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Add the dried garbanzos to the pan with the rendered bacon fat. Season with a generous pinch of salt and add the rosemary. Cook over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes, then remove the rosemary sprig. Transfer the garbanzos to a baking sheet and bake until crispy, 35 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. (If you did not dry the garbanzos overnight, bake them for 45 to 50 minutes.)
Let cool to room temp before serving.