Monday, March 09, 2009

Tallarines con guasanas y carnitas

Don't be afraid - it's just pasta with fresh chickpeas and shredded pork. I threw in some calabacitas (a small, rounded zuke relative), too, just 'cuz. I also found out that there is a Spanish word for pasta, and decided to use it instead of "spaghetti" to make my meal appear to be more cogent than fusion.

Imagine my delight at finding fresh chickpeas at Winco foods. I never shop there, but was helping a friend bargain-shop and I was actually really surprised at their variety of Latin produce and wealth of bulk bins (though I still think Cash & Carry has better meat deals, if you don't mind buying in 10lb increments). Normally steamed and shelled directly into the mouth (like so much edamame), guasanas are an interesting Mexican vegetable. I don't know of any other legumes consumed as a fresh vegetable in Latin America, come to think of it. The lanuginous pods bear one seed, though the occasional twin is present. I'd never seen them before, and brought home a bag of them to try.

I sautéed the shelled chickpeas with minced onion and garlic, some minced red chili and sliced calabacitas. I added generous pinches of fresh-ground cumin, achiote and Mexican oregano, salt and pepper. Then I shredded the leftover pork steaks from last week (I made this dinner last week, too, but am just getting to it), added a few unctuous spoonfuls of the tomato-caramelized onion gravy (similarly leftover) and simmered until the shreds of pork buckled under their own weight. I ladled the mixture over cooked spaghetti, and sprinkled on some crumbled cotija and torn cilantro. The spicy, silky carnitas married well with the nutty, lightly crunchy guasanas and the salty, dry cotija and verdant cilantro brightened the whole plate up nicely.

Serve with a spanky Pinot Noir and a hot date with a stationary bike.*



*I finally made a trip to the gym after more than a month, with a taped-up broken toe and a permission slip from the orthopedic surgeon. The bike is okay as long as I keep my foot straight, and so I kicked back and enjoyed a magazine while I did the exercise of the lazy. I will, however, feel the upper body strength-training tomorrow.

28 comments:

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

Love fresh garbanzos! If you have a REALLY large garden they are great as a nitrogen-boosted in cool weather, and if you get them young (heh) they are sweet rather than starchy, like fresh favas. I don't grow them because of that stupid 1-2 per pod thing, especially when I can grow favas that will give me 6-8 per pod of larger beans...

Elra said...

Wow, I never fresh chickpeas before. Look so fresh, I bet it tastes very delicious.

When I tried to read the title, I think I twisted my tongue... ha..ha..ha.. Sounds like really really delicious meal Heather.
Cheers,
elra

Michael said...

Ko-thai-Jah (gringo accent) makes any meal a great meal. Looks like a very refreshing meal! mmm, mmm!

Peter G said...

Oooh! I've never seen fresh chickpeas before! (I only ever buy them in a can or dried in a bag). Love the pasta and the pork...very much like a Mexican spaghetti!

LaDue & Crew said...

Wow, so that's what fresh ones look like! Can't wait to try this one!

MrOrph said...

Fresh garbanzos? I knew they had to exist somewhere, but I have never had them. They can't beat the RGs can they?

Spaghetti y carnitas? Deal me in.

And what's this 'bout a stationary bike? Isn't they whole purpose of a bike to NOT be stationary? :-)

Foodycat said...

Well I never - just the other week Paul and I were talking about fresh chickpeas! We were wondering what they looked like and whether anyone eats them like that. And lo! You answer both questions!

Heather said...

Hank - I say a photo of the plant, and they look like a leggy Astragalus. I'll stick to more generous beans, too.

Elra - Once in awhile I try to speak Spanish, but I've been limited to foodspeak.

Michael - I've never met a cheese I didn't like.

Petah - I know, aren't they pretty? I was totally going for Mexican spaghetti.

LaDue - I needed to read the tag to figure out what they were. :P

Don - I don't know what an RG is, but carnitas on spaghetti is full of win.

Alicia - I'm happy to oblige. :)

Lo said...

Yum. I actually bought a package of fresh/frozen chickpeas a while back -- though I haven't used them yet. This might be a nice application for them, come to think about it. Who can argue with carnitas? Really.

T.A.O said...

I heart calabacitas! It's me-hee-can comfort food! I want my mommy!
(well her calabacitas anyway)

That sounded kinda dirty.

matt wright said...

Fresh chickpeas are awesome! really hard to find too. Great looking nosh I have to say!

what happened to the toe?

LC said...

Heather, I'm on a three-day fast...what am I doing looking at your blog?!? Arrrggghhh.

DocChuck said...

Anyone here from the D.C./Baltimore area? If so, do you know where I can find some fresh chickpeas?

Lexington Market, which normally has everything, doesn't have them ... sigh!

peter said...

RG is Rancho Gordo. I'm going to crawl back into my Skinner box now.

Choosy Beggar Tina said...

I'm always so jealous when I read posts from you S'therners and see the remarkable Latin products you have. Here? Not much. We can find jalapeno peppers and Herdz green chili sauce in a can. It is rather disappointing to say the least.

Also, I love how you make Mexican spaghetti and Indian Mac'n'cheese. It makes my stomach sing.

Brittany said...

I learn so much from you. I'm always delighted to add a new legume into my life.

Embrace lazy excersize- it's such fun. I love the stationary bike when I'm not feeling the eye of the tiger, but need to do something or I'll hate myself. Crotch pain and butt sweat is a small price to pay for that peace of mind.

The Duo Dishes said...

Cotija! One of our favorite cheeses. We were obsessed with it for a minute, tossing it into so many recipes.

Heather said...

Lo - Nobody can argue with carnitas, that's who.

Lori - Please, tell me how your mom cooked them! I'm always curious.

Matt - I broke it when I planted my foot in a door jam at home. Not even anything good or worth it.

Lang - You're some kind of masochist, reading food blogs on a fast.

Chuck - You need to find a little mercado in el barrio. There hafta be Latinos in Baltimore. Found out where they shop.

Jube - Good boy, here's your pellet.

Tina - You do know I live in the Pacific Northwest, right? I'm not used to being called a "southerner."

Brittany - Oh, I didn't get any crotch pain 'cuz I was on one of the reclining bikes. Couldn't even be bothered to keep myself upright.

Chrystal - It's a great sub for ricotta salata, too.

I had to enter a captcha on my own page because I wasn't logged in, and it's "baste"? That's so meta.

we are never full said...

first, i'm glad you're able to get back to the gym. go you...

but i really need to commend you on this deliciousness of a plate. i must say i've never even seen fresh chickpeas before. they are gorge - and look a bit like garlic when they start going a bit rancid and growing that green crap in th middle. i'm totally wanting to try fresh ones...

cookiecrumb said...

Gym, schmym! Isn't that what god invented gardening, stairs, hanging laundry and emptying the dishwasher for? Oh, and dancing like an idiot in your living room to Depeche Mode. Before they got all gothy.
And Wii.
Rock.

Heather said...

i've never seen fresh chick peas before. it sounds lovely with the shredded pork!

Bellini Valli said...

Of course there would be fresh chickpeas in some part of the world I just never thought of it before. How lucky are you to have found them:D

Brooke said...

Winco, really? I thought that was like the Ross of grocery stores. I'll have to give it a chance. Looks awesome! I miss noodles already.

Zen Chef said...

I never saw fresh chickpeas before.. ah! and i call myself a chef! Shame on moi.

I thought tallarines were ballarinas with a d.. er.. nevermind!

Ken said...

Oh my god, you used the word lanuginous. The sexier cousin to pubescent.

The chickpeas look beauteous too.

And who ever says otherwise knows not, peas in a pod is two chickpeas. Mmmm.

Kevin said...

That pasta looks tasty!

glamah16 said...

Me want. You call exercise on the bike lazy? That would be me then.

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Fresh chick peas are better than sex! ..well okay maybe not that good, but they're definitely my favourite legume.

I've only gotten my hands on them a handful of times, so I usually end up doing something super simple, but I love what you've done with them here.