(The Humanitarian Social Network)
We have just stocked up on food supplies in our guesthouse in Darfur, and to my horror I realised that my logass bought 20 cans of baked beans and 20 cans of peas (and not much else except noodles and rice)! So anyone with some creative baked-beans recipes that I can suggest to our cook? And no, neither cheese nor toast are on the market here...
you can use both, plus carrots, garlic, tomatoes (you can get little tins of tomato paste everywhere to boost the tomatoeyness - yes. it's a word) a stock cube, your noodles (or better, some pasta, also available everywhere there) and whatever other veg is available in the souq and make a big hearty minestrone. If you have carnivores on staff, add some meat on the bone (just fish out the bones later) to beef (or goat) it up. If you have veggies, just leave out the flesh. If you have reliable electricity you can freeze batches in plastic bags for those days where you want to eat but can't face cooking.
That's awesome, Robyn. Do you have a minestrone recipe written out step by step by any chance? Or one that you can point Chris to? Chris, let's see what others come back with and let us know what you choose! Alanna and Maggie tend to have some great ideas on what to do with what's available.
And if you decide to experiment, we want a write up and photos of a 'field tested' recipe then, please!
Welcome to Aid Source and the foodies group :)
Ha! First instruction: Anyone Italian should stop reading now! I apologise for what is probably a terrible misinterpretation of a staple of your national cuisine!
"Minestrone" is one of those wonderful recipes that doesn't need a recipe... whatever you feel like putting in there will usually be fine. If it looks right and tastes right, it is right.
In the batch I made the other day I used the following, but you can totally make it up and the results will usually be delish.
2-3 diced onions depending on size (but you can't really overdo it, if they're big and you use 3, it'll be fine)
4 cloves of garlic, chopped (again, tho... if you love garlic, throw in a couple more)
Tomatoes - I used an 800g tin of crushed tomatoes. The flavour of real tomatoes is not quite as strong (but in my opinion better) so if you're using real ones, aim to have the same kind of volume of chopped tomatoes as you'd get in an 800g tin, and use a small tin of tomato paste as well
2-3 carrots, diced - I made them maybe 1/2cm cubes or smaller. It's one of those things where size doesn't really matter, just note that the bigger the pieces of a hard veg like carrot, the longer the cooking time.
1-2 cans beans - I used "normal" beans, not baked beans, but baked beans would be fine, I think... they're going into a tomato-based sauce, so their own sauce will just blend into the mix.
1-2 potatoes, diced
Half a bunch of spinach, roughly chopped - totally optional. Spinach is cheap here at the moment, so I threw it in
Whatever other veg you fancy and can lay your hands on
About 500g of uncooked pasta
Oil (ideally olive, but a not-too-nasty vegetable oil is fine as well)
Salt and pepper to taste
dried mixed herbs (small sprinkle to start with - you can always add more but if you put too much you can't get it out again)
Meat option - you could throw in some rough cuts of red meat on the bone if you wanted. For a big pot, you could get away with as little as 500g.
I do the whole thing in the soup pot. It's probably handy to have done all your chopping before you start, but you can get away with chopping the next ingredient while the one before it simmers.
To put it all together, first I chop and fry the onion. It's good to let it get fairly golden/lightly browned, as the flavour will seep into the rest of the soup.
Next, the chopped garlic (make sure it doesn't stick to the pot or those spots will encourage other things to stick later)
Next, I put in the tomatoes. If you use real ones + little can of tom paste, you should put in some water at this point, because there will be less liquid from real toms than from a tin. How much? Enough that the ingredients are just covered. As it evaporates during cooking, keep topping it up, so your ingredients don't stick and burn on the bottom of the pot. If it seems to watery, don't worry. You can always simmer it down to your preferred consistency later (water is the one exception to the "you can't take it out later" rule!)
Next, I put in the hardest of the veg, and let them simmer a little till there are signs that they're starting to soften. Work your way through the ingredients list, adding them from hardest to softest till they're all in there simmering.
Leafy ingredients like fresh spinach (if you find it) should be added right at the end. You just want them to wilt, really.
The pasta could go in with the tinned beans. I put mine in a little too early the other day and it basically dissolved. Made the soup nice and rich (so if you also put it in too early, it's no catastrophe), but the point had been to have actual pasta pieces in there. If you're a bit late adding it, no problem... you'll just have to wait a little longer for it to be cooked through.
Add salt and pepper once all your ingredients are in and simmering and taste as you go. The amount of time needed will vary. Basically, just keep fishing out a bit of carrot and a bit of pasta now and then and see if it's softened enough for you. When the carrots are ready to eat, you can assume the rest of the veg will be.
If you used meat, fish out the bones at the end, before serving.
That's basically it. The quantities above made about 8 servings.
A liberal sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley once the bowls are on the table gives it a great fresh kick, too.
I can take a pic when we next defrost a batch and add it if you like. :-)
You beautiful girl...THANK YOU for posting! x
Am I allowed to say 'girl'? Time to take this over to the NGOs and gender section. Hah.
Awesome! The Minestrone is a great idea - also the guacamole (I'm sure I can improvise something with regard to the cilantros). Keep it coming, there are still plenty of cans left! I'll try all of the recipes and post updates on how it's going. Cheers!
Photos too please, Chris! Better yet, start a blog series on here...maybe with the title: Baked beans and Peas: Recipe One (then recipe two etc etc...). Would LOVE to read it :).
I will, but at the moment I managed to avoid the beans/peas issue by involuntarily (visa extension) relocating to Khartoum, where I spend my days stocking up on oriental food, pizza and sandwiches at random expat places. Of course while doing so I cynically size up the 'agency' staff who is based here, thinking to myself "You posh folk, I've just spent two months in the field, I need this! And I will be living off beans and peas for the next two months!" and probably look like Tom Hanks when he got his first meal back in civilisation in 'Cast Away' ;). Should be back in one week though, inshallah, and will get started on the first edition of the 'Field beans and peas cookbook - online version' right away.