With all the celebrating last week, I forgot to mention that I’m making good on a year old promise. Some of you may remember that last year I planned to do a series of recipes using the best winter staple: beans, or more particularly legumes. Of course last year I was severely lacking the energy to get up from the couch, much less do a series of posts on anything. So, last week’s Hoppin’ John Cakes was the first of these recipes and today’s post is edition number two. Never fear, these recipes aren’t the beans you fear. These recipes showcase how versatile legumes really are. From black-eyed peas to chickpea flour, I’ll show that the star of winter cooking is not really a food to fear but one that is your best weapon against the mid-winter lack of produce blues.
There’s a store down the street from me that sells an almost complete line of Bob’s Red Mill products. I love to go in and buy bags of things I’ve never seen anywhere else, or things that just look interesting. This is how I’ve come across coconut flour and the 13 bean mix that I love so dearly in winter for soup. It’s also how I came to discover chickpea flour. What’s not to like now that one of my favorite beans is in flour form, and I can do so much more with it.
First I tried adding a bit of it to pancakes. Don’t try chickpea pancakes; take my word on that one. After that disaster, I decided to see what other people were making with it. Time after time, I ran into people making chickpea fries, but they were all deep fried. We’re not really frying in the house these days, so I wanted to come up with a recipe that would bake well. Turns out, that’s easy because they just bake up beautifully. I boosted the flavor level from the recipes I saw by adding a little garlic and oregano to my chickpea mix before firming it up. The finished product is crispy on the outside and soft and only slightly beany on the inside. Served with tzatziki, like this delicious recipe from David Lebovitz, these fries will be a huge hit whenever you serve them. Who knows, you may even fool the kids with these. Enjoy!
Baked Chickpea Fries
This recipe can easily be doubled or halved for a large or small crowd. If you have a convection oven, bake these at 400 for an even crispier outside.
2 cups chickpea flour
4 cups water
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt for seasoning
Prepare a loaf pan by lining with parchment or waxed paper to create a sling for the chickpea mush. Spray with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
Heat water in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan until boiling; add salt. When water comes to a rolling boil whisk chickpea flour into water in a slow steady stream. Continue to whisk until almost no lumps remain, but if there are small lumps then that’s okay. Stir in pepper, garlic and oregano. Cook for an additional minute stirring continuously. Remove from heat and pour into the prepared loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool. Refrigerate until cold, about two hours.
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Remove from fridge and release from pan.
Using a sharp knife, slice the fries into sticks the length of the short side of your loaf pan and 1/2 inch thick.
Brush fries with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake until just beginning to brown and crispy, about 25 minutes, turning once during baking.