Cooking Chickpeas

crispy chickpeasChickpeas or garbanzo beans are a versatile ingredient every chef should be comfortable cooking. We aren’t talking about the canned stuff; we are diving into the dried today. Yes, there is a bit more work in dealing with dried chickpeas but trust me it’s worth it.

Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different soaking methods when it comes to dried legumes. My favorite is a long soak. Rinse the chickpeas in cold water. I usually do two rinses just to make sure they are free of any impurities. Then I place them into a container that has enough room. I do a 3 to 1 ratio of water to chickpea. The chickpeas need to rehydrate so make sure you have a big enough container and lots of water. The chickpeas will at least double in size and absorb most of the water. Store in the refrigerator for 24 hours. When you’re ready to use drain all the water off and let dry.

There are a lot of different applications for chickpeas. The most common is probably spreads like hummus. Chickpeas become very creamy when added to a food processor with another liquid. So you’ll see chickpea purees a lot too. Another fun technique you don’t see as often is crisping them. It’s a great way to add texture to dishes. Whether it be a salad or a nice snack for the road with the right recipe chickpeas can pack a punch.

Cooking in a Dutch oven is another one of my favorites. You can build a base of flavors on the stove and then finish them in the oven. When you have heat coming from 360 degrees a bit more flavor can be infused into whatever you’re cooking. A bit of garlic, shallot, and spices will flavor your chickpeas and get them ready for whatever you want to add them to.

Here are two recipes for chickpeas: crispy chickpeas and hummus.

Crispy Chickpeas

2 cups chickpeas, presoaked

1 ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Dry the chickpeas as much as possible. In a bowl, mix the chickpeas, oil, and spices. Pour the chickpeas out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 50 minutes. Make sure to open the oven and give the sheet pan a shake every 15-20 minutes so they are uniformly crispy. The chickpeas will firm up a bit more once they are cooled so don’t over crisp them.


Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes

3 garlic cloves

2 cups soaked chickpeas, drained

1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon liquid from the chickpeas (if needed)

1 tablespoon hot sauce (your fav)

Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor add all the ingredients and puree until desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Chef Evan Francois at Park City Culinary Institute–Chef Evan Francois

While his passion still remains in French cuisine, Chef Evan Francois loves cooking all types of cuisine — from the spice of India to the tang of the Greek seaside.


Tips for Brining Corned Beef by Chef Jess

You can’t talk about corned beef without talking about brining. Brining is a huge opportunity to add an intense amount of flavor and influence the texture to get your desired texture for corned beef. You can do all sorts of things with your brine from sweet to spicy to extra savory. I will talk about my personal recipe for corned beef and why I like to add what I do.

First off a little science behind brine. When brining, essentially what you are doing is causing the protein strands in the meat to unwind. And as they unwind they end up getting tangled with other strands allowing it to hold water. So in theory, if you flavor the water that you allowing that meet to hold then that flavor will be throughout the meat as compared to just seasoning the outside of the meat.

So in my recipe, I like to balance all sorts of flavors creating a much more approachable and rounded flavor. First I add the traditional ingredients for corned beef such as bay leaves, mustard seeds, black peppercorns and potassium nitrate, which is a chemical used to achieve the desired texture and color of the beef you want. Without the potassium nitrate, your beef will turn grayish brown. But that is where my recipe starts to stray directly away from tradition.

I add a good amount of brown sugar and honey. I add a little more sugar than usual because it enables me to get a good sear on the meat if I so desire. The sugar will also help round out the spices I add as well, dumbing down the spicy elements of the brine.

I personally love the addition of baking spices to my corned beef. You don’t really end up tasting them individually but it helps bulk up the savory aspect and compliments the sweetness of the meat. So in order to achieve that I will add cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, star anise, and allspice berries. All of these spices play off each other so well especially when I add a little bit of espresso powder to my brine as well. This will really add a robust element to your corned beef and set it apart from boring old corned beef most people are used to.

For my spice element, I rely heavily on the use of red chili flake. I don’t want my corned beef to be considered spicy so I use something that is rather mild on the Scoville scale to just get a hint of heat to round out the flavor.

Finally, I add in just a hint of fresh ginger slices, only about 3 or 4 ¼“ slices. Then I will add my juniper berries, and a small handful of fresh herbs, mostly thyme but just a sprig or two of rosemary. The herbs will really bring an earthy element to the corned beef.

I throw all of this into a pot with some water and a good amount of salt. Bring it up to a boil to dissolve the salt and sugar I added. Then I will cool it with some ice and then brine my brisket for about 8-10 days allowing that brine to really penetrate the meat and inject as much flavor as we can. Then once its time to cook it, wash off the brine and simmer for about 2.5-3 hours. You can have a cup or two of cabbage ready for this but I promise you will just want to keep eating the beef and forget about the cabbage.


Chef Jess teaches the Cuisine Certificate Course at the Park City Culinary Institute and has a special place in his heart for brining technique, brined shitake mushrooms, and brined corn beef.



Perfect Oven Ribs by Sterling West

If you think that the only way to be successful at ribs is to be a level 72 pit master, think again. Delicious oven-baked ribs can be achieved by anyone. It will require a little planning and patience to achieve this perfection. The good news about this oven ribs is almost all of the work is done sitting back and waiting. So if your idea of cooking includes a good movie and a beer then you are in luck.

The first thing we do in preparing the ribs is to remove the membrane. Removing the membrane will keep our ribs from being tough, to get those fall off the bone ribs this is a key part of that success. To remove it, use a knife to gently slide under the membrane then using your fingers to pull the membrane away from the bones. If slippery or difficult to remove, use a kitchen towel to take hold of it and pull.

By the way, you might actually find that the butcher or shop you bought your ribs from has already removed the membrane. Less work for you! If you prefer your ribs to have a little bite/chewiness then you might prefer the membrane left on. It’s all up to you!

The next step is covering your ribs in salt and pepper and whatever spices you like. You don’t want to put any sauce on at this time as we will save that for the end. After applying your favorite spices cover the ribs in aluminum foil. Remember low and slow is the key to rib success so set your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 3-4 hours until tender. If you like wet ribs finish them off by slathering sauce on them and broiling until sauce begins to caramelize. Ribs in the oven are just that easy.

Kansas City Rub:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup paprika

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon/15 mL salt

1 tablespoon/15 mL chili powder

1 tablespoon/15 mL garlic powder

1 tablespoon/15 mL onion powder

1 teaspoon/5 mL cayenne


1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup finely diced onion

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (suggestion Sriracha)

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Salt and ground pepper, to taste

Sterling West graduated with a Certificate in Cuisine from the Park City Culinary Institute.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Wrap Recipe by Chef Evan

This is great for leftovers or if you’re just not into the traditional thing.

Serves 6

Prep time 35 minutes

Cook time 2 hours

Pickling Recipe:

1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup white or baker’s sugar
1/2 package matchstick carrots
1/4 cup white (daikon) radish, julienned
1/4 cup thinly sliced sweet onion

Place vinegar, water, and sugar into a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Boil for about a minute or so and remove from heat and add the veggies. Place uncovered in the fridge until cooled.

Corned Beef Recipe:

1 pound corned beef, cooked and sliced thin
1 cup cabbage, thinly sliced
Rice paper wraps

Dip each rice paper in a bowl of hot tub temperature water until softened, about 20 seconds. Lay the rice paper on a cutting board. Place a small amount of cabbage on the rice paper, making sure to put it on the closest third of the paper from where you are standing, just like rolling sushi. Place the shaved beef and pickled veggies on top of that. Fold the ends over the filling then fold both sides over to enclose the filling just like a burrito. Fold over and pull back on the wrap to get all of the air out. Slice on a bias and serve.


Chef Evan Francois at Park City Culinary InstituteWhile his passion still remains in French cuisine, Chef Evan Francois loves cooking all types of cuisine — from the spice of India to the tang of the Greek seaside to different takes on an American tradition like corned beef.





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