The Handoff: Chickpea Grits with Sautéed Mushrooms
by Sarah A. Maine
Welcome to part two of the chronicles of my chickpea blooper, where I turn a mess into a meal! When I left you on Tuesday I was staring into a food processor full of raw chickpea mash, feeling defeated and wondering weather I should give up. Those of you who are veteran hummus makers will know that I had skipped an essential step – cooking the chickpeas (canned chickpeas are already cooked). Although hummus now seemed like an unlikely outcome I realized I could still cook the chickpeas and hopefully make something tasty. In spite of my frustration I still retained a few shreds of the original impulsive mood that got me into this predicament in the first place so I got busy adapting to the reality of the situation. I transferred the mash to a pan with some stock and let it boil away for a while. As I stirred the thick porridge-like results I realized I had stumbled upon chickpea grits. I experimented with frying some porridge – tasty but it didn’t hold together. Next I tried baking some porridge – the result? Tasty and creamy inside with a golden brown crust – bingo! Baked chickpea grits is the recipe that I bring you today. Thanks to my kitchen klutziness you can now enjoy perfectly good chickpea grits in the comfort of your own home!
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I used organic bulk chickpeas from Whole Foods. Although some Northeast area farmers sell fresh chickpeas at the market in the spring – surprising little beans with two peas nestled in each adorable fuzzy green pod – they require a warmer climate to produce high yields. Organic bulk chickpeas are a useful and affordable item to keep on hand for creating soups, stews and, if you remember to cook the beans before you try to purée them, hummus.
This dish takes time to make but it is not particularly complicated. Basically, once the chickpeas are mashed all you do is combine them with four other ingredients and cook everything together in a pot. Then you put the whole thing into a baking dish and cook it some more. For their appearance on RecipeRelay I have dressed the chickpea grits up a little bit by adding suatéed mushrooms and crumbled cheese. The beautiful and delicate crimini mushrooms were purchased from Bulich Mushrooms, the creamy fresh farmer’s cheese was from Tonjes Farm Dairy – both at the Union Square farmer’s market. And now, without further ado, chickpea grits:
Chickpea Grits With Sauteed Mushrooms
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: Overnight plus 1 hour and 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
- 4 cups chickpeas, soaked and drained
- 4 cups (32 ounces) stock
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups crimini mushroom caps, sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon stock
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup farmers cheese
- Soak 2 cups dried chickpeas in water over night (makes about 4 cups soaked chickpeas).
- Drain the chickpeas and run them through the food processor in small batches till they are chopped into small pieces.
- Put the chopped chickpeas, 4 cups stock, 4 cloves minced garlic, 1/4 tsp salt and 3 Tbs olive oil in a pot with a cover. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
- The mixture should have a thick consistency like oatmeal, turn off the heat and transfer it to a large greased cast iron skillet or to a greased 9″ x 9″ baking dish (it should be large enough to make a thin layer about 1″ thick).
- Set the pan on the middle rack in the oven and bake at 375Âº F for 30 minutes.
- While the grits are in the oven, slice the mushroom caps.
- Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a pan, add the mushrooms, 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, and 1 Tbs stock. Saute for 10 minutes. Set them aside.
- When the grits are done baking, set the oven to broil on high for 10 minutes until the top is golden brown.
- Remove the grits from the oven and allow them to rest for 10 minutes.
- Cut into slices or squares, garnish with sauteed mushroom and crumbled farmer’s cheese.
- Behold the wonder that is chickpea grits! Enjoy!
This dish makes a good centerpiece for a vegetarian meal but could also work well as a side dish for roast chicken or a braised meat dish. Being grits means that they also partner well with eggs for breakfast. I have been eating them in many forms for the past couple of days so trust me, I know. I consider this dish to be a work in progress – I fully intend to play around with the recipe some more, adding spices (especially fresh ones as spring rolls into the Northeast!) or different sauces. If you have your own chickpea grits adventures, or if you want to improve on mine please leave a comment and tell me all about it. Finally, always keep this age old motto in mind, especially in the kitchen: “If life gives you chickpea mash, make chickpea grits!”