This is it!
I’ve found a way to balance out all the green salads I’ve consumed in a lifetime!
And now, I won’t waste last week’s sunchoke oil…
Did you know that you can re-use fry oil?…
I have many nemeses in the culinary world, and this is one of them.
Perhaps you’ve heard of roasted chickpeas before and you would expect them to be nice and crispy, right? Hot oven = crispy skin. But when you go to make them, they’re not very crispy at all. I’m not exactly sure of the science behind this, but all I know is that if you cook them for too long they will completely dry out; if you under cook them they will be soft, not crispy.
Then I read somewhere that the secret is to remove the outer skin from each and every bean. Apparently, this is the culprit. I’ve done this once before when I was on a quest to make creamy hummus, and it’s a total pain. Never again.
Honestly, I’d rather scrub a bathtub.
And then I had an epiphany… I was making chicken cutlets for the kids the other day when I thought, I should just bread the darn things! I will create a crispy layer for the outside while the inside stays soft and creamy.
Here’s what I do:
Rinse, drain, and dry the chickpeas as best as you can. Make peace with the fact that they will never be completely dry (this is OK). Roll them in flour. I found that this was a necessary step in order to soak up the extra moisture. Coat them in egg wash. This will help the crumbs stick to the beans. Dust in seasoned bread crumbs, parmesan cheese & spices. Place onto a rimmed baking sheet and spray the heck out of them with cooking spray. A nice even application will yield golden, crispy beans. Bake @425 for 15 minutes.
If you follow these steps, you will have beautiful roasted chickpeas every time. They are especially good with a squeeze of lemon over the top. Use this recipe as a base for adding your own seasonings too. It’s a wonderful and healthy alternative to a bag of chips! Serve warm.
Here’s the link to my parmesan + herb version.
The last time I made risotto, I caught my 4 year old trying to give the cat a haircut.
This is what happens when you decide to make risotto at 5 o’clock on a weeknight. You become a slave to the stove, frantically stirring away while your kids try to pull a fast one on you (the cat survived). What was I thinking?! Gone are the days my friends.
This is baked risotto.
No stirring, no babysitting. Your oven does all of the work.
All you need is a Dutch oven and a couple of basic ingredients to get started. I flavor my risotto with leeks, however a small onion or maybe some shallots would work as well. Give them a quick sauté, and then add your aborio rice. Cover with liquid and bake for 45 minutes. Because of the natural starches, there is no need to douse it in extra butter and cream. The result is a rich and oozy risotto rival to any restaurant.
Boring you say? But wait- think of the possibilities…
• Blistered cherry tomatoes with baby artichokes + torn mozzarella •
• Portobello mushrooms with shredded chicken + herbs •
While your risotto is in the oven, use that time to whip up a quick topping if you want. I used the leftovers from our Superbowl antipasti platter (yes, that’s how we roll) to make the first dish. For the second version, I combined bits and pieces of leftover roast chicken with sautéed mushrooms.
Then I threw it all together in one pot just because I was curious… it was so good!
One last thing- when your risotto comes out of the oven it will be quite liquid, which is how it’s supposed to be. If you prefer a bit thicker, just let it sit so that the rice can absorb additional moisture. You can easily correct the texture with more or less liquid according to your liking.
Dust with parmesan cheese and you’ve got yourself a feast!