It’s the end of an era: my roommate, a boon from craigslist, has officially moved on to a more wonderful job in an area with more wonderful weather. Her adorable cats, one of whom was the star of a dinner party, are gone, and I’m the only one filling up our hardboiled egg carton.
And, to overcome a general morose atmosphere, I am turning to new recipes to occupy me (I’m also reading this website that makes me giggle). I’ve also turned to a horrifyingly unhealthy “meat” that I haven’t used in months (thanks to the influence of said roommate’s dedication to salads, lean protein, and working out): I’m cooking with bacon.
Once I’ve opened the package, I can’t just stop cooking with it – I’m really stuck until I’ve used the whole dang thing. Unfortunately, I don’t have a brunch scheduled for this weekend, so I’ve had to find ways to use it that don’t involve blatantly pawning it off to people who are eating pancakes.
Thankfully, I’ve been trolling cooking blogs and saving all the recipes I’ve liked…and I found a wonderful blogger who loves bacon. LOVES bacon like I love cayenne and chocolate and butter. She happens to have also used garbanzo beans recently – so I decided to copy her success in my own fashion.
Now, I must say, the other reason I found this recipe is because I’ve been trying to figure out a way to use all the dried garbanzos I reconstituted. (As a side note: canned garbanzos, which all recipes involving garbanzos seem to call for, are cooked, not just canned. When you reconstitute garbanzos from the little dried guys you find in bags, you get a whole new chickpea. They taste entirely different and have a wholly different consistency. I don’t know why someone would know this unless someone else told them. So, consider yourself warned. Buying bulk dried garbanzos may be economical, but they are a different animal than canned garbanzos.)
On to the real recipe! (yes, it’s delicious. I even opted to eat it instead of ice cream for dinner. If you’ve ever seen the half gallons I keep in the freezer exclusively for my use, you know that this is an enormous deal.) I do feel like I adulterated a hippy food with the pork bacon, but whatever. It was low-sodium bacon, which makes it healthy, right?
Bacon-Garbanzo Bean Salad from How Sweet It Is
15 ounces garbanzos [if canned, drain and rinse them; if dried and reconstituted, blanch, drain and rise]
2 slices of bacon, chopped [ok, original recipe calls for one slice, but I opted for two since I had raw-er garbanzos and I needed to roast them longer]
1/2 onion, chopped [again, variation: original recipe calls for 1/4 red onion - I had 1/2 a milder onion, so opted to use the whole thing to enhance the overall flavor]
1/4 bell pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika [if you like spices, you need way more than this - I used 1-2 tsp.]
1/4 teaspoon black pepper [yeah right - 1-2 tsp]
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
a bunch of freshly chopped parsley [I think parsley is boring - I added green onion to lighten the flavor and add color]
In a deep skillet, cook the bacon, in whole strips, until crispy. Remove bacon, but leave fat. At this point, your method will vary depending on what type of garbanzos you have:
If you have reconstitute/blanched garbanzos, add these first. Let them cook for a few minutes until they start noticeably roasting, then add the onions and pepper.
If you have canned garbanzos, first add the onion and pepper and wait until they begin to soften. Then add garbanzos until they are heated through and onions begin to caramelize.
Then, add garlic and cook until fragrant. Remove from heat and add crumbled bacon and green onions (or parsley if you like it). Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.