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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Beans, beans the magical fruit...

I am really into beans and legumes lately. They are so economical, make a meal stretch beyond any normal limit and can be seasoned as desired. I usually use dried beans, because they are so cheap and can be stored indefinitely. It has taken me some research and patience on how to incorporate them into my meal planning but it has been worth it. There is something so comforting about a warm, filling meal made with beans. Beans very nutritious and fiber-filled to boot! The most recent things I have made with beans are a split yellow pea and ham soup and burritos. Both turned out fantastically well, if I do say so myself and made enough for me to stock up in the freezer for those I-don't-wanna-cook days. For example, I used up the leftover cubes of ham from a shoulder picnic we bought on sale and a pound of split yellow peas and it made almost a gallon of delicious soup! I could feed an army with that! My best trick is to soak, soak, soak, those beans the night before, preferably, and rinse away the soak water. Then bring to a boil, season and simmer one hour or until tender. If foam bubbles up, skim it away; that to me, is the fart gas. Some people add baking soda to help this, but I worry that it might add a yucky taste to your beans. Add more liquid if you need to. You can then freeze for later use or use in your bean dish. I also find, as in the burritos, pureeing the beans a bit with the other ingredients, or slow cooking until quite broken down in the soup, seems to help with the, uh, flatulence. Although in my house, this is regarded as nothing more than humorous! (Ha ha, bean farts :) Not so good for work and school though...) I used up leftovers for my burritos, so no real recipe to speak of; a half a tomato here, a frozen bunch of tomatoes I saved from another dish, a half onion, a dried bit of garlic, the meat and the beans. I let it all simmer away until it was nicely cooked through and reduced the liquid content. Then I pureed it all in the pot with my hand blender. With the seasonings, (chili powder, garlic and onion salt, whatever I had on hand) the filling turned out very good. This method would also be delicious with some ground round if you prefer a non-meat alternative. Very economical, a few tablespoons in a tortilla, (or maybe even homemade naan bread), fills you up nicely once you add the cheese and salsa and whatever else you like. I had more than enough to put some away and I only used a half pound each of meat and beans. Cheap and delicious, that's what I'm talkin' about!

2 comments:

Lena! said...

You've got me craving beans! Thanks so much for the tips :)

hiptobeme said...

Thanks for the comment. My burritos were amazing!