romanesco-cauliflower purée with shredded chicken and fresh garbanzo beans

I discovered two new veggies this week.  It’s time for show-and-tell!

First, raise your hand if you’ve ever purchased garbanzo beans that were not packaged in a can.  Hmm, yes, I did not expect to see many hands raised.

While shopping at Mi Pueblo earlier this week for my usual Mexican-food staples (unbelievably cheap avocados, jalepeños, cilantro and delish tomato salsa), I saw a large display of what appeared to be loose green grapes.  Upon closer examination (and after reading the sign), I learned that these were fresh garbanzo beans in their pods.  I put down my basket, popped open a pod, plucked out the single green bean and tasted it: mmm, tastes like fresh peas!  I did not know what I would make with these, but I knew I had to purchase some.

fresh garbanzo beans from the Mexican market

a garbanzo bean in its pod

shelled garbanzo beans

I found my second “new” vegetable of the week in our CSA share.  Have you ever seen such a freaky looking vegetable?  It looks like something you’d see the Ferengi eating in an episode of Star Trek: TNG.  

romanesco is related to broccoli and cauliflower

romanesco is green and spiky-spirally!

I googled “green spiky cauliflower” and learned that this is called “romanesco.”  The fact that romanesco is in the same veggie family as cauliflower and broccoli gave me an idea of what to do with it . . .

romanesco-cauliflower purée with shredded chicken and fresh garbanzo beans

serves 4


2 heads romanesco, cored and cut into florets

2 heads cauliflower, cored and cut into florets

1 1/2 cups chicken stock (homemade, if available)

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

3 tablespoons butter

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (breast and leg meat)

1 cup shelled garbanzo beans or peas

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 shallots, minced

red pepper flakes

olive oil


To make the romanesco-cauliflower purée:  Steam the romanesco and cauliflower florets until tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.  Transfer the florets to a small stock pot and add 1 cup chicken stock (reserve the remaining 1/2 cup stock for the chicken sauté).  Use an immersion blender to purée the florets in the pot, adding more chicken stock if needed to make a smooth purée.  Stir in the cheese, butter, salt and pepper, to taste.  Keep warm.

To make the chicken sauté:  Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a lidded sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic, shallots and about 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (more or less, to taste).  Once the garlic and shallots become fragrant, add the chicken and garbanzo beans to the pan and sauté for 1 minute.  Add the reserved chicken stock (1/2 cup) to the pan, cover and allow the chicken and garbanzos to steam in the broth for 3 minutes.  Test a bean for doneness and steam a bit longer with more chicken broth, if necessary.  (The beans should be bright green and slightly firm, not mushy, like cooked fresh peas.)  When the garbanzos are cooked to your liking, remove the lid and sauté the mixture until the chicken is lightly browned and most of the broth is evaporated/absorbed.

To serve:  Spoon a mound of the romanesco-cauliflower purée onto a plate and top with the chicken sauté.


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