Garbanzos Guisados - just like my Great grandpa's!
Updated: Jul 16, 2020
Yup! Jo's great grandpa was an excellent cook - he owned a restaurant for a long time in my hometown of Humacao, Puerto Rico. He lived to be 97 years old and as time went on, unfortunately he lost some of his cooking abilities but there was one recipe that he continued to make until the end and I had the privilege of tasting while Jo and I were dating: garbanzos guisados! So here's the recipe in honor of Abuelo Elias!
1 lb dried garbanzos
1 tbs salt
6 cups water
(if you are are using canned garbanzos, substitute the above for two large cans of garbanzos)
2 tbs oil
¼ cup sofrito
1 cup diced turkey ham
½ cup squash, diced
1 medium russet potato, diced
½ cup tomato sauce
½ cup sliced green olives
1 tsp adobo
6 cups of water
3 red ajies dulces (optional)
1 tbs fresh oregano (optional)
When cooking dry garbanzos, the first thing you want to do is soak them, in order to begin softening them up. I usually soak them overnight, so just keep that in mind when planning your meal.
To soak them, just combine one pound of garbanzos with 6 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Then cover your garbanzos and leave them undisturbed for 8-10 hours.
Once soaked, we are going to cook our garbanzos in a pressure cooker. Each pressure cooker is a little different, but the basic components are the same. First, they have a lid that seals on the top of the pot. Second, they have a pressure valve that you use to adjust the pot’s pressure. Generally, water boils at 212 degrees fahrenheit. However, as you increase the pressure in the pot, the water can actually get hotter than the 212 boiling point, which is why you are able to cook things faster in a pressure cooker.
Once you’ve got your pressure cooker set up, add the soaked garbanzos, then seal the lid and adjust the pressure valve so it’s at its highest pressure level. Now turn your stove on high and bring your pot to a boil. You’ll know its boiling and at full pressure when you start to hear a steady stream of steam escaping from your pressure valve.
Once you hear this steam coming out, reduce the heat to medium and cook your garbanzos for 5 minutes.
At the end of the 5 minutes, turn off the stove and move your pressure cooker off of the heat. Leave your pressure valve turned to full pressure and let your pressure cooker gradually cool down and release the pressure that has built up inside. This is what is called a natural release and I’ve found that it does a better job of keeping the garbanzos whole and intact. If you were in a rush you could open the pressure valve and let all of the pressure out quickly. However, I’ve found that this rapid change in pressure can pulverize the beans, which you don’t want for this recipe.
After 20 minutes or so your pot should be depressurized. At that point, open the pressure valve and confirm no steam is coming out, then take off the top of your pressure cooker and drain your garbanzos. After draining them, rinse them with cold water. This does two things. First, it prevents the residual heat from overcooking the beans as they rest. Second, it washes off some of the salt from the soak as well as some of the proteins that came out of the beans while they were boiling.
With your garbanzos cooked, let’s turn to preparing the rest of the dish.
Heat up a large pot and then, once hot, add your vegetable oil and saute your sofrito, stirring constantly. Once your sofrito has reduced add your turkey ham and brown it, mixing frequently.
Once your turkey ham has browned, add you potatoes and squash and continue sauteing. Saute for two to three minutes, or until they start to soften slightly.
Once your potatoes and squash start to soften, add your tomato sauce, your olives, your achiote oil, and your adobo. Stir to combine and allow this all to saute together for one to two minutes, letting the flavors combine.
Now add your cooked garbanzos and combine thoroughly.
Once everything is combined, add 6 cups of water and turn the heat up to high to bring the water to a boil.
While you are waiting for the water to boil, prepare your aromatics. Here I’m dicing some red ajies dulces and some fresh oregano.
Once your garbanzos come to a boil, turn down the heat to medium, add all of your aromatics and then let it simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the sauce reaches its desired thickness. During this cooking period, make sure to stir it from time to time to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Once your garbanzos are the consistency you want, check it for salt and adjust as necessary.
Now spoon your garbanzos over some white rice and enjoy!
Check out our instructional video, showing how to make this recipe step-by-step HERE.