Have any of you ever read the essay George Orwell (I think) penned about cooking on a poverty level budget? It goes a little something like this: Some writer for a UK newspaper devised a diet which could be purchased and cooked under poverty conditions. Orwell analyzed the writer's work and admitted that the math was correct and the nutritional content was sufficient. However, Orwell concluded that without the added spending money for an occasional splurge, humans would never be able to subject themselves to that dietary regimen. Orwell believed that humans needed that extra bit of spending, a taste of extravagance in order to keep their spirits up.
It was with this story in mind that I purchased and added Russian garlic sausage to this bean dish. Omitting the sausage would have made the dish half as expensive (and doubled my portion size) but I figured that I would hate my life if I skipped out on the pork. Remember, I'm the guy who lives for pork sausage...yummy.
Take a pound of beans and soak in water overnight. Here I am picking through the soaked beans to make sure there aren't any pebbles or other unsavory items hidden in there.
Add a carrot, a halved onion and two bay leaves.Cover with water, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until beans are tender. You can figure out how long that is. After about an hour of cooking, add a few large pinches of salt.
While this is taking place, roast a head of garlic. Here's a pretty good recipe.
When the beans are tender, start getting the rest of the ingredients together. I skinned and chopped about a pound of kielbasa-style sausage.
I also medium diced an onion and chopped up a carrot. Just little bite sized nibs of carrot.
I then added olive oil to my wok and tossed in the onions. I cooked them until they were a bit soft. Toss in the carrots and cook until slightly softened. Season with salt. Toss in the sausage and heat just to warm through. Turn off the heat and allow to cool a bit. Drain the beans with a slotted spoon and discard the onion, carrot and bay leaves. Reserve a bit of the cooking water.
Time to make the sauce. Take about two large spoonfuls of beans, maybe a cups worth and toss into a blender. Add in the cloves of roasted garlic, a large swig of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of prepared horseradish and a swig of vinegar. Blend until smooth. If it doesn't want to blend, add a bit of the reserved bean cooking water. You want a puree that will cling to the beans and sausage. The sauce should be fairly aggressive in flavor as it needs to flavor the rest of the beans and the sausage/veggie mixture. I prefer it on the spicy side with lots of horseradish kick and vinegar. Here's a pic of some of the garlic clovesand the finished bean puree.Time to put everything together. Mix the drained beans with the vegetable/sausage mixture. Mix in the bean puree and mix well to coat everything. Taste and add extra salt if necessary. Maybe some black pepper as well.
Toss in a handful of chopped fresh herbs. I had dill in the fridge so that's what I used. Voila!
Food Cost- Sausage doubled the cost but it's still only $0.43 for a 1 cup serving. Really delicious and quite filling. I keep it in the fridge and warm it up for a bit in the microwave before serving.
Not much active cooking time. 2 hours for the beans and most of the other stuff can be prepared while the beans are cooking...chopping veggies and sausage etc.