Thursday, October 22, 2009
Puerto Rican Bean Stew
I know this has nothing to do with my post, but I just had to tell you about what we had for dessert last night. Have you ever had Magic Shell ice cream topping? It's chocolate topping that hardens when you pour it over ice cream, forming a thin chocolate shell. I must admit, I've never bought a bottle, but I've had it. Well, lately I've become a huge fan of extra virgin coconut oil. It doesn't break down into trans fats at high temperatures, like many vegetable oils do. It's an amazing moisturizer for you skin, with the added bonus of smelling good enought to eat. It works wonders on rashes. Boosts your metabolism. Makes an amazing chocolate-coconut-banana smoothie. Okay, just google it already, because sister I am just breaking the surface here of all the good things that virgin coconut oil can do(note it's VIRGIN coconut oil, different from coconut oil which is NOT healthy). Well, to add to my list, I found a recipe for homemade magic shell ice cream topping using EVCO -or extra virgin coconut oil- because it is a liquid above 75 degrees, but it solidifies at 74 degrees and below. So last night we tried it. The recipe said to melt 1 part chocolate with 1 part oil, but I did 1 part oil to 2 parts chocolate. Melted them together over med-low heat in a saucepan, then poured it over Costco's fabulously delish vanilla bean ice cream. It was SO BLOOMIN' GOOD!! The chocolate hardened right up, and also gave it this decadent coconutty undercurrent that was completely over the moon. Bottom line, try it!
Soooooooo, back to the post! Hearty, rich, healthy, economic. Bean Stew. I had never had a soup like this until I moved here, and I love it. Easier than split pea, cheaper that beef stew, it's an ideal fall recipe to keep on hand. Sofrito is a Puerto Rican seasoning made with onions, garlic, green peppers, tomato sauce, along with a few other things, all blended together to make a kind of paste that is the base of Puerto Rican cuisine. My favorite store brand is Don Tono con Sazon(the refrigerated kind that's red, not green). You can probably find sofrito seasoning in the latin american cooking aisle of the grocery store, although it will be dried, not a paste. If you can't find it, just finely chop and saute the basic ingredients mentioned before, and add in a can of V8: it's comparable.
Puerto Rican Bean Stew
2 cans pink beans
1 big spoonful sofrito base
lunchmeat ham, cut in shreds
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 baking potato, prepared same way
1 large chunk calabeza(or any squash with firm, orange flesh), prepared same way
Drizzle some olive oil into a hot soup pot, and add in sofrito base and ham. Saute for a few minutes. Add in both cans of beans(undrained) and 1 can of water, along with the potatoes and squash. Simmer until squash is broken down enough that it is thickening the stew, probably no more than 30 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper, then remove from heat and add in cilantro. Serve with rice.