Monday, November 19, 2007

Eatin' Cheap

When I was in grad school, I learned to eat cheap. One of my favorite dishes was to fix a big pot of beans and rice—which would last me a week. Economical and nutritional, such a fare wasn’t for everyone. But I got by and occasionally I still find myself longing for a pot of beans. This weekend I didn’t have to cook for anyone but myself and decided to make a pot. I’ll be eating them at least a meal a day for the rest of the week. Here’s my recipe (remember, everything is approximate).

-one pound of dried beans (red beans, pintos, navy, experiment with different varieties)
-ham hock (optional)
-2 cups of rice
-24 ounce can of stewed tomatoes (not really optional, but I didn’t have any this time!)
-a couple of onions, sliced
-Garlic, diced
-½ a cabbage sliced
-Variety of spices like oregano and basil
-Hot sauce

Wash and then soak beans in water for an hour. I fix my beans in a pressure cooker—small red beans can cook in about 12 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. If you are using a ham hock, put it with the beans in the pressure cooker.

Afterwards, add rice, tomatoes, onions, garlic, cabbage and spices. Add liquid (you’ll need to make sure there is enough liquid to cook the rice, at least 4 cups plus the juice from the tomatoes. Guess on how much juice you have from the beans, then add enough to make the difference or drain the beans and add 5 cups of water plus the liquid in the tomatoes). Bring to a boil; turn down to a medium low flame and cook, stirring regularly, till rice is done. Serve with bread (or if you want to be fancy, fix up some of Sage’s cornbread), along with plenty of hot sauce.

Note on using a pressure cooker: The pressure cooker is a useful kitchen tool, but you must learn how to use them safely for they can be dangerous. Once mastered, pressure cookers cook food much quicker and with much less energy. If not for the pressure cooker, you’d be cooking the beans for hours. In my list of favorite pots, my pressure cooker ranks right behind my cast iron skillets and my wok.


  1. YUM! I have been wanting red beans and rice since it started turning chilly. After Thanksgiving leftovers I'll have to make it happen.

  2. I fix pintos and also great northern beans fairly frequently all year long. With cornbread and diced onions, you can't beat it! I have never put rice into them, though.

  3. Well, I know what I'm having week after next.

  4. oh what is an asian with many mexican friends without rice and beans :D

  5. Oooo - I will try this with red beans! I have a black beans and rice recipe (a Cuban version), but this sounds wonderful, even sans ham hocks. I'd have to have the tomatoes though, lol.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Yum! And beans and rice are a perfect protein combo!

  7. Rice and beans? Are you sure we aren't related??

    Looks like this meal is not only nutritious, but it has a little kick there at the end w/ the hot sauce. You gotta love that!

    I will look into your cornbread as well. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Kontan, yes, get the turkey down first.

    Kenju--I love pinto and great northern just the way you described, topped with onions and with a hunk of cornbread!

    Appalachianist--maybe you can get some hocks off that wild boar ya'll got.

    Hey Naomy, haven't seen you here in a while!

    Jaded, black beans are good too!

    Diane, yep! They're good for us.

    Sister Scarlet, Last time I came back from Central America, I had 10 bottles of hot sauce... that's all that's left, can't wait till February...

  9. I'll give it a try. It does sound tasty.

  10. I do eat red beans cooked the India way and Plain Rice, once a week. However, I have never cooked those this way.

    May be I should. I seem to have all the ingredients. But cooking and eating it for a whole week! Unthinkable for most Indians!!

    PS: I do know how to use a pressure cooker. I have been doing that since I was 11 years old!

  11. I have no idea how to use a pressure cooker. Sounds very good though

    Have to get over my fear of cookery--comes from living in an apartment without a good kitchen

  12. I must say while I enjoy red beans, I am partial to pinto beans. Glad to hear they can be substituted or mixed in.

    Have you ever thought about adding some shredded cheese?

    The reason I ask? Because I must say I do enjoy the combination of beans, rice, and cheese. Though usually within a burrito.

    Great post Sage!

  13. I came here to wish you Happy Thanksgiving.

  14. Rice and beans...there's a flatulence joke to be found in this post...

    But I'll say no more.

  15. oooh sounds super nummy!

    will be making that at the weekend! thanks ;)