Real Food for Real Life

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I love reading food blogs...

 Roast Pork with Baked Chickpeas and Steamed Broccoli

It wasn't until I started writing my own back in October that I really started reading food blogs, but I am hooked.  I have my list of favorites that I check for new posts, but also look at a random 10 new ones daily from the Foodie Blog Roll.  One of my favorites is One Perfect Bite, written by Mary.  A few days ago she had a recipe for a Black Eyed Pea Casserole that sounded quite delicious.  I thought I would give it a try, but a search of the pantry did not uncover any black eyed peas (I really thought I had some), but I did find chickpeas (which I actually like better anyway).  I was also lacking the fresh herbs, the orange, and the molasses (I used the last of that in the Cincinnati Chili).  Undeterred in my quest for a different kind of "baked bean," I substituted and riffed and made it my own. isn't that what cooking is about anyway?  Take the time to give Mary's lovely blog a read and make one or both of these recipes, you won't be disappointed.

Baked Chickpeas

This may seem like a lot of ingredients, but the end result is well worth it.

1lb. bag of dried chickpeas
4 oz. bacon, diced (I used peppered bacon)
1 tbs. olive or canola oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup catsup
1 tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. dried rosemary, crumbled
1 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 bell peppers, diced (I used 1 orange, 1 yellow)
2 large jalapenos, finely diced
2 tbs. cornstarch

Rinse and soak the chickpeas in cold water overnight- it would not do to substitute canned beans as so much flavor is absorbed during the long cooking to follow.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Rinse the chickpeas again and drain.  In a large, heavy dutch oven, saute the bacon in the oil over medium heat until browned.  Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add a bit of the stock to loosen any brown bits, then add the stock, orange juice, soy sauce, and the herbs and seasonings.  Bring the liquid to a boil, add the chickpeas and bring to a boil again before covering and placing in the oven for one hour.
After one hour, add the diced bell peppers and jalapenos, as well as the cornstarch mixed with a bit of water to make a slurry.  Cover and return to the oven for one hour.  Remove from the oven and give the chickpeas a good stir- if they seem dry, add a bit of stock, and return to the oven covered for 1/2 hour.  If they seem "soupier" than you would like, return them to the oven uncovered for the 1/2 hour.
This makes a lot of "baked beans," so plan on leftovers during the week, or package them into serving size for the freezer.  As delicious as these are, they are even better later.

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