How do you eat your chickpeas? Most likely it’s in hummus. If you’re really fancy, you might roast them with a little curry or chili powder. But aside from that, really when do you have chickpeas as a feature ingredient of a meal? I keep dried chickpeas in my collection of mason jar beans and dried goods ingredients, but I rarely use them. Sometimes I’ll make hummus, or toss them in with some white beans or as part of a multi-bean chili. My black beans come and go, refilling the quart sized jar every other month or so, and the kidney and white beans go almost as quickly. But those poor wrinkly chickpeas just sit there. So in an effort to highlight this special ingredient (and avoid a trip to the store for different ingredients, I embarked on a dish to make chickpeas shine.
First I have to apologize for the lack of step by step photos of this recipe. I had no idea it would turn out as good as it did and I was pretty jaded going into the recipe preparation. The recipe was from of my long owned cookbooks, Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two. I’ve wanted get rid of this book on a number of occasions, but really, how often do you find recipes for a slow cooker that serves two rather than a family of twelve? The last time I used this book was at least 3-4 years ago. It was a delicious looking recipe for pork tenderloin with a rhubarb chutney. I prepared the ingredients accordingly, set my crockpot and left for work. When I returned 8 hours or so later, wonderful aromas drew me down the hall to my apartment door. I was hit with the beautiful scent of rhubarb as I turned the key. My mouth watered and I couldn’t get to the kitchen fast enough. When I opened the pot, however, I was welcomed not by a tasty tender piece of pork but a dark, salvageable charred mess. How the char and burnt scent didn’t fill my apartment is still a mystery to me, but that dish still remains my most disappointing cooking experience ever. To walk into the illusion of a perfect meal, only to be slapped in the face by it’s ruins. We had pizza that night and I haven’t touched the book since.
What better way to follow-up a healthy, delicious crispy baked chicken recipe than some barbecue brisket?! I figure if you eat healthy one day, you can bank those extra calories to splurge on something rich and savory the next day, right? I don’t know, the logic works for me. In reality, this recipe is really an oxymoron. You can’t exactly have some good old BBQ without the barbecue, can you. And a slow cooker isn’t even close. But again, we’re in Brooklyn, so we do things a bit differently. Like having a Labor Day BBQ inside with a grillpan. Just go with it.
As Fall turns to winter and the weather gets bitter (then 60°!..then 30° again…) I take my crockpot down from it’s summer space up top the cabinets, wash off that gross stuff that forms from storing things up high, and give it a seasonal place among my “regular” appliances. If it didn’t make our apartment so damn hot in the summer, or had central air, I’d probably use it year round. There’s nothing better than coming home after a long day to find your apartment smelling AMAZING and dinner ready to serve. I probably use my crockpot once a week, whether it’s stew, crockpot chicken or something else. But my absolute favorite is chili.