The Farmstead Kitchen – Beans in the Winter
- Hand-shelled Dried Beans
- Cured and Smoked Ham
- Raw Goatmilk Feta
- Heirloom Tomato Salsa
- Organic Chicken Stock
- Fresh-frozen Jalapenos
We harvested a lot of dried beans by hand last fall. They certainly can be a “poor man’s meat” but we love them for what they are; creamy, delicious, and filling! Beans are awesome for breakfast, as they keep you going long into the day. Winter is cold outside, so we want some hot food inside our Farmstead Kitchen to warm us up.
A delicious savory breakfast –
Pureed Chipotle Beans, served with Smoky Pork & Feta Grits and garden salsa.
After picking through the beans for stones, and rinsing them well, we soaked our beans in water overnight. Drain and rinse before beginning to cook! We cooked about a cup of dried black beans, but you can always make a bunch and use the beans for other meals in the week. Every bean has it’s various attributes and flavors, but we generally find them rather interchangeable.
Make sure to add about 4 times the amount of water to beans, and don’t add salt, as it can inhibit the cooking process for beans. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer and cook covered, for about an hour or more. You can also cook them easily in a crockpot. We added extra water and cooked them slowly on our woodstove for about 4 hours. When the beans were nice and soft, we drained off almost all the liquid, pulsed them in a food processor, and put them back on the stove to simmer for about another hour. We added these ingredients:
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon chili powder
3/4 Tablespoon sea salt
2 teaspoons chipotle powder
1/2 Tablespoon cumin
dash of homemade apple vinegar
fresh ground black pepper
When the beans are simmering on low, time to cook up the Grits with Smoky Pork & Feta.
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, and then stir in 1 cup of dried polenta- this is found in the co-op bulk section, and it’s basically a coarse, gritty cornmeal. The key to luxuriously smooth grits is to keep stirring as the water comes back to a boil, and then lower the heat to barely a simmer, keep stirring and then cover and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring sporadically.
We raised our own pig named Rosie, and then cured and smoked her hams ourselves. We over-salted during the curing process, but now just plan on the ham bits to be the salty component in any dish we make with her ham. Chop up the ham bits and stir in while the grits are cooking, so that the saltiness of the ham will spread through the grits. Add a bit more water to the pot if needed. Stir in the feta cheese to taste at the end of the cook time, and then lots of freshly cracked black pepper. Portion into a big bowl, placing the chipotle beans on one side, and swirl the salsa in between.
With the other beans from our woodstove pot’s worth, we prepared a
simple but delicious soup last night –
Creamy Beans with Pork
Cooked Leftover Beans, Ham, Chicken Bone Stock, Jalapeno- that’s it! Combine in proportions you like and slowly simmer as long as possible, at least 2 hours, adding water as needed.
Super Simple Bone Stock –
Making stock is so easy, and once you get into the routine you’ll never go back to the tasteless stuff in a box. Put your roast chicken carcass/bones (and all the nibbly bits left on the plates) in a crockpot, cover with water, add a glug of cider vinegar, cover and cook on high all day. You can add other herbs/veggies if you want, and use any kind of bones from any meal. We tend to save up leftover bones from roasts, chops, etc in the freezer so we have a nice assortment of flavors going into the stock. The vinegar helps pull minerals and nutrients out of the bones. You’ll notice how the bones actually will soften after stock making, now the dogs can safely eat them, although consult with your vet before you let them. Strain the stock into jars, store in the fridge and use within 2 weeks.
A cheater tip from one who dislikes doing dishes immensely-
Prepare your chicken dinner IN the crockpot, then post- dinner, and after removing all the meat from the bones, proceed to immediately make Bone Stock- cover the bones in the “already dirty” crockpot and simmer overnight!