Monday, June 11, 2012

Rice and Beans: The Second-to-Last Refuge of the Broke and Hungry

Gentle reader, on most levels, I am obviously not a food snob, as you have probably guessed from posts like this and this. But there are two meals at the bottom of the I’m-starving-and-broke totem pole that typically, I simply refuse to stoop to.

Now, as everyone knows, the last refuge of the broke and hungry is ramen noodles. (Which have actually turned into a Brooklyn foodie trend lately, making them also perhaps the last refuge of Brooklyn foodies, who have apparently run out of lowbrow foods like fried chicken and tacos to turn into trends...but I digress.) Eating ramen noodles, like carrying your toiletries into the shower in a caddy, is something you should not have to put up with after graduating from college. In fact, I didn’t even eat ramen noodles in college! And I’m certainly not going to start now.

So, you’ve probably guessed this from the post title already, but the second-to-last refuge of the broke and hungry—somewhat more acceptable after college, especially for vegetarians—is rice and beans. I know this is supposed to be the nutritionally perfect meal and all, but I don’t know, I’m always just like, waat-waah at the thought of it, the texture and color and flavor are all so monotone.

But on this occasion, I was inspired to make them because I had a leftover boneless pork chop and a half that had gotten overly dried out in the grill pan a few nights prior, and thought that they might be salvaged by cooking in liquid with beans. Also I had a can of black beans, onions, garlic, and half a pint of grape tomatoes that were getting a bit wrinkly. Also I was hungry and broke. And I achieved my goal of cooking a meal that required the purchase of absolutely no new ingredients!

I diced 1 medium yellow onion and sautéed it in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until translucent. Then I added:

  • several cloves’ worth of minced garlic
  • 1 minced chipotle in adobo, plus about 1 tsp. of its sauce
  • the half-pint of grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • a few stems’ worth of fresh thyme leaves
  • a generous sprinkling of kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 packets’ worth of ketchup
  • About 1/2 cup white wine plus enough water to cover

I brought this to a boil, lowered the heat to medium-low, added the pork (chopped into strips and halved), and simmered partially covered for maybe 20 minutes. Obviously, you could make this without the pork—or you could use diced chorizo or ham, or shredded cooked chicken or turkey.

I served the beans over cooked brown rice, garnished with sour cream—you could also use shredded cheddar, chopped cilantro, pickled jalapenos, and/or scallions.

Now, I’m not going to pretend this was the best meal I ever made, gentle reader, but it was cheap and it was easy—and it would have been quick if I'd used white rice instead of brown, or had had some leftover cooked rice. The beans and rice described above, with or without the pork, would also be nice sides for roast chicken, along with a salad or steamed green veggie. Or you could wrap it in a big flour tortilla with some grated jack cheese, salsa cruda, and shredded lettuce to make a burrito...the third-to-last refuge of the broke and hungry.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE the creative way to use the meat that got too cooked/dry on the grill. genius!