One of my main cheap eating strategies is to always keep the freezer full. If I can quickly heat up a bowl of soup or grab a loaf of seitan to make a meal, I’m much less likely to go for more expensive foods at the supermarket. That’s why I decided to start this month by cooking up a few pots of the staple of budget cuisine: beans!
Cooking dried beans requires a little planning, but it’s not a lot of work. I always soak them overnight, rinse them, then boil them for 1-2 hours in fresh salted water the next day. I do sometimes get a little impatient while waiting for the beans to soften, so this time I decided to try out a new chickpea cooking method from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Between the soaking and boiling steps, they coat the chickpeas in baking soda and sauté them in a saucepan to break down the skins and to increase the alkalinity of the cooking water. This extra step definitely sped up the cooking process: when I checked on the chickpeas after 20 minutes of simmering, they had already gone completely soft.
I wanted to see whether these tender chickpeas would yield a super smooth hummus, but I only had dark roasted tahini and no food processor so I had to adjust the recipe on Food 52 a bit. Still, the chickpeas were so soft that my immersion blender pulverised them within seconds, and the resulting hummus was one of the silkiest I’ve had.
I also boiled pots of white beans, pinto beans, and black-eyed peas, and they filled almost an entire drawer of my freezer! I think I’m all set for the rest of the month. :)