Monday, October 10, 2011

"Gunk" Recipe

I've had quite a few people ask me about the recipes I used when I did all the cooking before Denver arrived, so I thought I'd share them. While we were at the Farmer's market, I picked up a few bags of dried beans. I like cooking beans on low for a few hours and you can get a 2# bag of them for less than what 2 cans would cost you at the grocery store. I bought black beans and pinto beans this time but they have SO many different kinds to choose from that you can really create some variety for very little money. I know a lot of people, especially chefs will tell you to soak your beans overnight to speed up the cooking process but call me weird or old fashioned - I love the smell of beans cooking so I get out my grandmother's old bean pot (that only has one handle now and a dark "water" line so I know exactly how full to fill it) and put the beans in, put in twice as much water as beans, add a packet or two of "Goya Jamon flavoring" which is pork flavoring, some black pepper and a bit of garlic powder. I don't add any salt since I let them cook for 4 hours or so and salt concentrates as it cooks. I check them every so often and as water as needed. Instead of the Jamon - you can use ham hocks, or bacon but those little packets are so easy I just normally do that. Once I get them cooked and let them cool, I put some up and labeled them so we'd have some "sides" of beans for a couple of dinners. Then, I browned some hamburger meat (I use 97/3 so I don't have anything to drain) and add a couple of cans of stewed tomatoes and mix it together with the beans. Then, I boil some rice (usually about a cup) and add that to the mixture. Test a bite - it will probably need some salt and maybe a little more garlic powder and that's it - thats "Gunk". I have no idea how it got that name or where the recipe came from but my mom always made it with leftover pinto beans when we were growing up. It's cheap, filling and a great way to make sure no beans go to waste. I put everything in freezer safe Tupperware and when I wanted to serve it for dinner I ran the container under some hot water to loosen it from the Tupperware then stuck the frozen block in a casserole dish, covered the bottom with water, covered it with foil and baked it for an hour at 400 degrees. I took it out once to make sure it was all broken up & to stir it. It was as good as it was fresh! I'll share the recipe for baked potato soup next time!

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