a basket full of wild mushrooms

Photo Grzybobranie w Polsce (“mushrooming in Poland”) courtesy of user MoS810 via Wikipedia.

[2018 Website Update: since we first published this recipe in 2008, the Granmisto di Funghi we used stopped being imported into the U.S.  That’s okay.  Just use about 12 oz (3/4 Lb) of good, interesting mushrooms: shiitakes, maitakes, lobster mushrooms, porcini, lion’s mane, etc.]

Chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans, originate in the Middle East and the Mediterranean.  Today, everyone everywhere eats them.  Why is that, aside from the fact they taste good?  Well, they’re high in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and decreases insulin requirements for people with diabetes.  They contain protein, calcium and iron (isn’t that a surprise?)  You get nutrition and de-li-tion all for a fair price, even if you don’t cook the beans yourself.

Want to cook them yourself?  Most books tell you to soak beans overnight.  I just spread them on a cookie sheet, look for stones, rinse beans in colander, pour into a big pot, cover with water about 4” above, bring to a boil with a 2” piece of kombu (kelp) to break down the part of the bean which causes digestive discomfort, and then boil uncovered for a few minutes.  Turn down heat, cover pot, and simmer for about two hours.  Because I’m always short on time, I mostly use Eden canned beans. Eden cooks beans with kombu too, and compared to other canned beans, Eden gives more beans and less liquid. 

Makes 4 servings

¼ c EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) 2 cups sliced cabbage
1 large onion, coarse chopped ½ cup Med. Organic sun-dried marinated tomatoes, halved
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and pressed 1 tbsp each dry basil and fennel
one 15-oz can Eden organic garbanzo beans* 1 tsp coarse black pepper
1 bag Granmisto di Funghi (mixed  frozen mushrooms including Porcini) ½ – 1 tsp sea salt
4 cups coarse chopped kale 3 tbsp lemon juice

In a large skillet, gently warm EVOO.  Add onions and sauté 5 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté another minute or two.  Then add remaining ingredients except lemon juice.  Use liquid from beans in can, otherwise, add ½ cup water.  Mix everything well, cover pot and simmer dish for 20-30 minutes.  Turn off heat, add lemon, taste and adjust for seasoning.  Serve garnished with any number of things.  Some that I like are crumbled Mt. Vikos feta cheese, pine nuts, shelled pistachios (which we have too, of course), steamed shrimp, Wolfe Neck Farms meatballs or Pecorino Romano.

*or two cups cooked beans with ½ cup liquid.