thesoupfairy: (Default)
[personal profile] thesoupfairy
Slow Cooker Beans & Ham

Today I'll be spending my entire day at a local music festival - the longest running human rights festival of its kind, anywhere (25 years). I know when I get home I will be exhausted and sunburned and cranky and hungry. So I decided to do the cooking beforehand. My husband will turn off the slow cooker when he gets home from work, before He comes out to the park.

Of course you can use another variety of bean here if you like... just not kidney beans, of the white or the red variety. They contain phytohemagglutinin, which is toxic, and must be boiled to bring it to a safe level - and your slow cooker just isn't going to boil them sufficiently.

Prep: 5 minutes the night before, 5 minutes in the morning
Cook: 6-8 hours
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients
  • 1 pound dry pinto beans

  • 2 pounds boneless smoked (fully cooked) ham (optional) - also good are salt pork, ham hocks, and chopped bacon

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 bouillon cube, whatever flavor you like

  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled but left whole


Directions

The night before, pick over your beans, discarding any stones or dirt clods or weirdly discolored beans. Put beans in a bowl or your slow cooker crock and cover with enough water to keep them covered if they double in volume (they won't, quite).

The next morning, drain your beans and rinse them well. Place in your crock with the ham or other meat, if you're using it. I cut my ham into a few large chunks - when the beans are done and it's falling apart, i'll shred it. If you like nice little cubes of ham in your soup, go ahead and dice it before you put it in.

Add enough water to come to about 1-1/2 to 2 inches below the rim of your crock. Pop in the bouillon cube and stir in the salt. Toss your peeled garlic cloves in.

TIP: Incidentally, here's a little kitchen gadget tip. You can buy a special garlic peeler. It's a silicone tube that you roll on the counter under your palms to loosen and remove the peel from your garlic cloves. They're not expensive, under $10 generally. I saw Graham Kerr using one on his cooking show once and totally wanted one. And I had one for a while, and it was awesome. Unfortunately, in communal/cooperative houses you sometimes lose things, and I lost my garlic peeler. Recently I realized that I had something that would probably work just as well. You know those little rubber jar openers that you get as promotional items? For a while now I've been using one under my cutting board on the countertop to keep it from moving around. But I have a nice 6" square one that works great for peeling garlic! Just put the garlic clove in the center, fold it in half diagonally around the clove, and roll back and forth until skin either comes completely off or is loose enough to easily pick away.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until beans reach desired tenderness. Shred meat if needed. Check and adjust seasonings.


Perfect Fried Potatoes

The perfect fried potatoes are hard! They can come out too mushy, they can come out half-cooked, they can come out burned, or they can come out with all of these in the same pan! What follows is my preferred method.

I really do think these are better made with bacon grease. If you're not saving your bacon grease, you totally should. It's free cooking oil, and it makes everything delicious. :)

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients
  • 2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1-2 tablespoons bacon grease

  • 1/2 to 1 pound of potatoes for each person

  • seasonings - at least salt and black pepper, but experiment with garlic powder, steak seasoning blends, cayenne, etc.

  • 1 small white or yellow onion, thinly sliced

  • 1-2 cloves of garlic per person, coarsely chopped (optional)


Directions

Scrub potatoes. Peel if you like, but if they have fairly thin skins, you can leave them on. Slice potatoes thinly - about 1/4 inch thick slices. You can also dice them or cut them into French fry shapes if you prefer, but do try to keep size and thickness fairly equal so they cook evenly.

Heat oil and bacon fat in large (at least 12" skillet). You want the oil hot enough to sizzle very slightly when you flick a droplet of water onto the skillet, but not hot enough that the water droplet dances all over the skillet, or your potatoes will burn. If you get a serious sizzle, turn the heat down a little bit.

Add potates to skillet in an even layer. Add seasonings. Don't stir - the less you disturb your potatoes while they're cooking, the better chance you'll have of them not falling apart. Cover your skillet partially - some steam in the pan is good, but if you cover completely you'll have soft mushy steamed potatoes instead of crispy fried ones.

After about 5 minutes, add your sliced onion and shopped garlic on top of the potatoes and return the partial cover. In 5 more minutes or so the potatoes will look kind of sweaty. This is when you want to turn the potatoes. Try to shuffle them around as little as possible, while getting the softening ones on top down to the bottom and the browned ones from the bottom up to the top.

If they start to look dry, you can add a tablespoon or so of butter to the top - it will melt down into the potatoes.

After turning, you want to cook about 10 more minutes. You still don't really want to do much stirring, but do keep an eye on your garlic and onions so they don't burn. Garlic is okay to get a little golden brown, but not any browner than that or it will get bitter.

Check doneness and crispness, taste for seasoning, adjust seasoning as needed, and serve. Draining on paper towels is a not-quite-necessary step that some folks prefer to do.


Perfect Cornbread

If you don't want to serve your beans with fried potatoes, or if you just want cornbread too, here's a simple but delicious recipe. You can cook this in something other than a cast iron skillet/pan but it will NOT taste the same, I promise.

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15-20 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil

  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease

  • 1-1/2 cup milk (or buttermilk, or a buttermilk substitute

  • 2 cups self-rising yellow cornmeal

  • 1 tablespoon sugar


Directions

Preheat your oven to 425°F. Put the butter in your 10" cast iron skillet and place in the oven when you turn it on. Check it now and then to make sure it doesn't scorch.

Beat eggs with electric mixer or wire whisk until uniformly yellow and slightly frothy. Add oil, bacon grease, and milk. Mix well.

Measure the cornmeal and sugar into the mixing bowl. Do not use your mixer here - you want to stir gently with a wooden spoon or a fork until you get the lumps out and everything is mixed. Over mixing will make your bread tough.

Pull your skillet out and turn it to coat the entire surface with melted butter.

Spoon the batter into the hot skillet. Some of the melted butter will come up over the edges, which is totally fine.

Stick the pan back into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes - check the center of the bread with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the bread is done.

Let stand a few minutes before cutting and serving.
From:
Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
User
Account name:
Password:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
Subject:
HTML doesn't work in the subject.

Message:

 
Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.
thesoupfairy: (Default)
The Soup Fairy

October 2012

S M T W T F S
 123456
78 910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 26th, 2017 04:36 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios