Garbanzo beans or chickpeas have been an important food in the Mediterranean area for many thousands of years. The remains of cultivated chickpeas have been found in archeological layers below evidence of pottery, which means people were growing and cooking the beans before they learned how to make soup pots.
Today, garbanzo beans are among the most popular foods on the Indian subcontinent, they are valued throughout Africa, are common in the Philippines and Mexico and are even eaten at least occasionally by nearly one in five families in the United States. If you ever eat hummus, you are eating garbanzo beans.
Garbanzo beans are good for you, with more than twenty percent of the recommended daily values of protein, dietary fiber, folate and some important minerals in a single serving. I believe, however, that no matter how good something is for me, if it doesn’t taste good, I want nothing to do with it. This beef and garbanzo bean casserole passes the test. The first time she made it, Jerri and I agreed it was a winner, and we still think so today.
You really should give it a try.
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
2 15 oz. cans garbanzo beans
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 T chopped cilantro
Red onion (optional for garnish)
Clean and chop the onion to a quarter-inch dice. Clean and mince the garlic.
Brown the meat in a two or three quart saucepan. Add the onion and garlic a minute or two before the meat is fully browned and cook until the onion is tender. Remove the pan from the heat and drain off any excess fat.
Preheat the oven to 350º.
Drain the garbanzo beans and mix them with the meat in the pan along with the tomato sauce, water, salt and spices, except the cilantro. Return the pan to moderate heat and bring the mixture to a boil while stirring frequently.
Put the mixture into a one and one-half quart or two quart casserole and bake covered for forty-five minutes. Stir before serving and remove the bay leaves if you can find them. Otherwise, warn your guests. Garnish with rings of sweet red onion and chopped cilantro.