I should begin by saying this is another cooperative project — it was Andy’s idea, we shopped together, I did most of the dicing, took the photos and wrote the blog post– Andy did the EFG thing (Evil Food Genius) — putting it all together.
After watching Food Inc, Andy and I decided to make an organic and reasonably responsible meal. We decided on Cuban black beans — which ended up as a pretty thick soup. It could also be served over rice.
Considerations: The main ingredients had to be organic. We also tried to select local ingredients, within reason. We bought them at the local co-op. The goal was to see if we could make a satisfying meal that is modestly ethical, healthy and affordable.
Food sources: Celery: Mexico, Carrots, Jalapenos and Cilantro: California … note, we could have bought carrots from Wisconsin, but at $8.00 for a bag, we declined. The canned beans were from New York, as were the tomatoes. The ham hocks were from Iowa, raised on family farms etc…
I know we could get all of the fresh veggies and beautiful tomatoes from the local farmer’s market, in season — sadly, it’s winter here in BNCC and nearly nothing is growing except the piles of snow and dog poo in the back yard.
Cost: The whole pot cost $35.00 — and made at least 10 satisfying meals, so about $3.50 per meal. This cost does not include the cost of the salt, lime juice or Jerk Seasoning.
Recipe & Instructions:
1) Small dice several stocks of celery, 1 large onion and a bunch of carrots & jalapenos.
2) Heat 3 Tbs olive oil, heat/sweat the celery, onion and carrot and jalapenos.
3) Add 1/4 cup of diced garlic — put it on top so that it won’t burn (an EFG tip!)
4) Add 3 large cans of black beans and the liquid.
5) Add 3 large cans of tomatoes with the liquid.
6) 1/4 cup lime juice
7) Chop 1 large bunch of cilantro and add to the pot.
8) Add 2 ham shanks, making sure there is enough liquid to cover — add water or organic chicken stock if you have it — we didn’t.
9) Add salt to taste, bay leaves and Caribbean Jerk Seasoning (in the bottle).
10) Let it simmer, reduce, simmer some more — you’ll want to break up the tomatoes and eventually pull out the ham shanks, pull off the meat and return it to the pot.
The whole process (including shopping, prep and cooking) took us several hours… but the result is really yummy! The portions can be stored individually for quick lunches or dinners. They can also be frozen for easy lunches for a couple of weeks.
Here are the basic ingredients — fresh from the co-op.
Here are the veggies all diced up and waiting for Andy’s EFG touch! I diced everything but the jalapenos, as they still scare me.
Here’s all the goodies just before they became mixed up… pretty colors!
Here it is as it simmered… and simmered — about now, I wish we had a “smell this” capability on the blog… (many, many other times you should be glad that isn’t a feature).
I didn’t take a photo of my bowl — mostly because I was too excited to eat it.
I think this was a great experiment for a cold winter break afternoon. The actual prep time wasn’t bad. Andy’s suggestion is to get it started on the stove and then move it to the crock pot for the simmering stage. A little planning will have delicious smells great you at the end of a long work day — well worth it!
In the end, it’s a healthy and satisfying meal — and moderately ethical.
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