Instructions on how to cook chickpeas in the slow cooker – my new favorite way of cooking any legume.
Have you seen the commercials for direcTV? I’m talking about the ones with far-fetched hypothetical scenarios that lead to misfortunes as a result of cable TV service outage. How we decided to remodel our kitchen is like one of those stories. Here’s how it goes:
“When your husband can’t get ice out of the freezer for a cold drink in the 100-year-old house that you just bought, he decides to get a new refrigerator.
When the refrigerator arrives in the delivery truck, we learn the counter it must get past to get into the kitchen isn’t code compliant, as it’s too long.
When the risk of turning the refrigerator on it’s side to pass over the non-compliant counter to get it into the kitchen is to lose all warranties, the delivery men leave with the refrigerator.
When all hope for ice cubes is driven away, the husband begins to plan to take out the non-compliant counter.
When he begins drawing ideas for taking out the non-compliant counter, suddenly you’re designing a counter-height dining table with cabinets underneath it to replace the non-compliant counter, which eliminates the need (and space) for the dining room set the wife loves.
So, if you don’t want to ending up selling a dining room table you love, make sure you buy a house that has a freezer that makes ice for cold drinks.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited over the new kitchen, really really excited, and I can’t wait to see the new table island, but it does seem silly at times to realize we’re doing all this to get ice cubes.
So the remodel starts next Tuesday, and my slow cooker is about to become my new best friend. It will take a few weeks to get the new floor, countertop, cabinets, appliances, sink, lighting and counter-height table in. Someday I’ll use the calculator function on my iPhone to see what the payback is as measured by bags of ice.
In anticipation of a month of slow cooker dinners, I started experimenting with cooking beans. And I’ve gotta tell you, it’s now the ONLY way I cook dried beans. As a note: chickpeas are loaded with protein, and are generally my “go-to” bean, so these directions (for now) are specific to them.
General Cooking Tips
- Cook times is dependent on the type, size, and age of bean, and slow-cookers vary. I cut a couple of beans in half to check for doneness.
- I never, ever remember to pre-soak my beans. If you have a better memory, and want to shorten the cook time, cover the beans with a couple of inches of water in a heavy pot for an overnight pre-soak.
- If you forget to do a pre-soak, but still want to shorten the cook time, simmer the beans for 10 minutes, drain, and add to the slow cooker with fresh broth. I recommend heating the broth.
- A toxin called phytohaemagglutinin, also known as kidney bean lectin, is found in many beans – and is particularly high in kidney beans. In fact, ingesting just a few raw, or improperly cooked, kidney beans can make you very, very sick. Slow cookers don’t heat the beans to a high enough temperature to rid them of the toxin, and in fact can make it worse. Other beans, including white kidney beans, broad beans and lima beans, contain the same toxin in smaller but still dangerous amounts. This is easily solved by boiling them for 10 minutes, draining, and then cook in fresh broth or water in the slow cooker.
- I’m in the don’t salt while cooking camp. I only add salt when the beans are completely cooked.
- For other ways of cooking chickpeas, go here.
Serves: about 3 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 32 ounces vegetable broth
- ½ onion, peeled but otherwise left whole
- 1 dried pepper (optional)
- If you haven't pre-soaked the chickpeas overnight, place them in a heavy bottomed sauce pot and cover them with a couple of inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and pour the chickpeas into the slow-cooker.
- Bring the vegetable broth to a boil on the stove and pour over the chickpeas in the slow-cooker. Add the onion and dried pepper, if using. Add enough water to make sure the chickpeas are covered by a couple of inches of liquid. Cover and cook on high for 2½ to 3 hours or until tender.
- Drain. Excess liquid can be either discarded or saved as a substitute for vegetable broth in other recipes. Discard the onion and dried pepper.