José Andrés: The Best Canned Beans Are Actually Jarred Beans
In addition to feeding communities hit hardest by the pandemic, José Andrés has been cooking a lot at home, just like the rest of us. While cooking and dancing in his kitchen, usually to Hamilton, the chef and humanitarian leans on pantry staples that can turn into simple, satisfying meals. One of the all-time-great pantry staples is beans, of course, and Andrés has opinions on them.
"The best canned beans are actually in a jar," he said. "Conservas Rosara is one of my favorite brands these days. In Spain, the very best vegetables are preserved at their peak, so you can get incredible beans in a jar—garbanzos, Judión, alubias, pochas, fabes … all from Navarra in the Basque region. All are amazing."
Andrés, whose nonprofit World Central Kitchen just delivered its 20 millionth meal, has been leaning into simple meals that riff on pantry ingredients. His two go-tos during quarantine? Migas ("Spanish fried breadcrumbs cooked with pimentón and olive oil") and croquetas. He'll top the migas with fried eggs, and sometimes chorizo. The two dishes both happen to be excellent uses for stale leftover bread, which you may have around the kitchen if you've been stress-baking as much as we have.
"They both bring me back to my childhood, when we didn’t always have a lot to eat but my parents showed me that everything in the kitchen has its use," he said. "So never throw away stale bread or leftovers; transform them into the next meal."
RECIPE: Chicken Croquetas
While quarantine cooking, Andrés says his most-used kitchen tool is a cast iron pan that is, unsurprisingly, also Spanish.
"My cast iron pan is the number one piece of cooking equipment that people are asking about when they watch my daughters and me cooking on Instagram," he said. "It is from a Spanish company called Castey. I use it almost every day."