Friday, May 31, 2013

Zesty & Thrifty Recipe: Vegetarian Cuban-Style Chickpeas & Rice (Garbanzos con Arroz)

Traditional Cuban Garbanzos con Arroz, aka chickpeas and rice, is made with pork, usually in the form of fatback, bacon or sausage. My Mom's garbanzos, however, were always vegetarian. Whether that was because money was tight, or because her mom also had omitted the pork, I do not know. All I know is that we always enthusiastically devoured her meatless chickpeas and rice, often asking for seconds.

The following is my recreation of my Mom's vegetarian (and vegan) Cuban chickpeas and rice. Once you try it, I think you'll agree that the hearty flavors can stand on their own, no pork required.

1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas aka Garbanzo beans, drained
2 Tbs olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 Tbs diced roasted red peppers (pimientos)
1 Tbs dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Cooked white rice, for serving

Heat olive oil and bay leaf in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, onion & pepper, saute until softened and onion is translucent. Stir in tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to break down. Stir in chickpeas and remaining ingredients except cooked rice. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook 30 minutes at a low simmer. Uncover and stir: If the chickpeas look "soupy," raise heat to medium-high and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve over hot cooked rice and discard bay leaf before serving.  Makes 2 or 3 servings.

Zestfully yours,

PS:  Cuban food is not spicy-hot. If you feel the need to add peppery heat to this savory dish, I recommend using a good cayenne hot sauce at the table instead of adding hot sauce to the recipe as it cooks.

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