Sunday, January 30, 2011

Roasted Chickpeas

I feel like a pusher, bringing this highly addictive snack out to share, but since I'm crazy late to the Roasted Chickpea Adoration Party, I think I can fall back on the easy "everyone else was doing it" defense.

Recipes for these crunchy, salty little munchers were everywhere a year or so ago, but at the time I was suffering from garbanzo overload.  And I was a little skeptical that they were really All That.  It is one of my neuroses, you see, that if everyone likes something, I stand back and steadfastly refuse to take a gander of my own.  It makes no sense, I know, and that is why I refer to it as a 'neurosis,' you see.

If everyone likes something, especially if that everyone includes a fair cross-section of different tastes, then one would generally, and rightly, assume that what you have here is a fair bet.  But it doesn't work that way for me.  Even if, say, when I finally get on board, I end up agreeing with the masses.  Every single time.

This was the case with Forrest Gump, Hey YaEat, Pray, Love (the book, not the movie), Glee, and flat boots.

The kiss of death is widespread approval.  File under: Neurotic Tendencies of Sarah #736.

The thing is, though, I had to know that I would get on the chickpea roasting train at some point, just as I finally saw Forrest Gump and laughed and cried and loved it so much it hurt.  And how I eventually streamed Hey Ya, which remains wedged firmly in my head and which still makes me want to get up and dance anytime I hear it...

Yesterday, after not having given a spare thought to roasting beans in many months, I ran across a recipe while I was, ahem, reading magazines for free in those comfortable chairs at the bookstore, and I came straight home, grabbed some cooked chickpeas from the freezer, and commenced to searching the internet for spice combinations and techniques.

I felt silly.  What exactly is it that I think I am accomplishing by not jumping on bandwagons until they have passed me by?

Silly or not, though, I needed a salty snack, and I have finally resumed my yoga practice after a long, stress-filled hiatus, so said salty snack needed to be healthy, but was required to still have that addictive quality that makes Mrs. Vickie's chips so dangerous.  Roasted chickpeas fit the bill.  And I knew without a doubt that they would fit that bill because everyone and their mother posted a variation on the recipe six or seven seasons back.

It was quite amazing though, what happened to the beans.  Even after reading so much about how they morph into super-crunchy little balls of flavor, I was still dumbfounded when it actually happened.  I went with the dry-roasting technique recommended by The Kitchn, and toasted my spices in a dry skillet for a bit before mixing the spices with olive oil, and it was all super easy and angst-free (except for this public admission of how hopelessly behind-the-times I am).

I tried not to eat too many when they were done, but it was a lost cause from the get-go.  You know how opening up a box of Thin Mints to get a cookie or two always ends in disaster?  Same goes here (save for the not-so-small feature that there are no trans fats to contend with in this particular situation).  I ate them straight out of the oven, I snacked on them while I finished making dinner, I had another handful while washing dishes, and then I upended the leftover container into my mouth before lunch today.

Crazy good.  (Just like everyone said they were).


ROASTED CHICKPEAS (makes about 3 cups)

  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained)
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs coarse sea salt
  • 4-ish tsp mixed herbs and spices (I used one tsp each of cinnamon, cumin, chipotle powder, and smoked paprika - for other ideas, see the blogroll on The Kitchn)
  1. Pat chickpeas dry with a clean kitchen towel, and spread on a jelly-roll pan (or other heavy cookie sheet).
  2. Bake in a 400 degree oven (or 325 degrees, if using convection) for about 40 minutes, stirring at least every 10 minutes, until beans have turned a deep golden brown and are dry and crunchy.  Take care not to let them burn.
  3. While beans are in the oven, toast the spices in a dry skillet over medium-low heat for just a minute or two, stirring often, until warm and fragrant.  Remove spices from heat, and add the olive oil, stirring to combine.
  4. When beans are done cooking, toss them immediately with the spiced oil, and then sprinkle with the sea salt.  Taste, and add more oil and salt if desired.
  5. Serve immediately.  Leftovers can be stored in a tightly-closed container, but they lose just a wee bit of their crunchiness.


Dana said...

Hey, I'm the same way in the "contrarian" department...can so relate. Just picked up some chickpeas at Dekalb Farmers Market with roasting them in mind and now I don't have to go looking for a recipe. Perfect timing. Thanks, Dana

Sarah Beam said...

Dana, I made a super spicy batch a few days ago and ate them until my lips burned. I think this is my new favorite snack, for sure.