Friday, November 2, 2012

Red Beans and Greens

At the end of last February, I made another vegetarian dish from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker cookbook: Red Beans and Greens. Even though I've noted several times that this cookbook has helpful suggestions on the side about which tell you which steps you can do ahead of time, since last year when I was only working on my dissertation prospectus and often not going to campus at all I just made the whole thing in the morning.

In this case, though, because the beans needed to soak overnight, I followed their suggestions and made part of it the night before and stuck it in the fridge so I could just quickly throw everything together thing the morning and just turn on the crock pot.

In this case, I cooked onions and celery in a skillet with some oil until they were soft, then added minced garlic, oregano, salt (except I skipped the salt), pepper, thyme, allspice, and bay leaves. After that cooked for about a minute, I added some of the broth and then put everything in a plastic container in the fridge for the night.

The next morning when I got up, all I had to do was add the mixture from the fridge, the beans, and some more broth.  It cooks on low for 8 to 10 hours or high for 4 to 5 hours, so I turned it on low and went off to campus.

When I returned from school in the evening, I cooked the greens, steaming them until they were cooked, then tossing them with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and pepper.

This is what the beans looked like when they were done cooking,
before adding anything else.

After cooking the greens, I made a mixture of paprika dissolved in boiling water that I stirred into the bean mixture and took out the bay leaves. Then I added the greens to the mixture, and ate!

This was really good and I noted on the recipe that I served it with rice. The recipe says that you should get 8 servings out of it, but I actually think I got less, maybe about 6, because even though the recipe doesn't say it, I think the author intended this to be a side dish. Regardless, it was really good and I would definitely make this again. And, if you compare the picture below, the picture almost actually looks like what I made (theirs is just less liquidy)!

So, if you had served this as a side dish, it would be 174 calories per serving for the 8 servings. However as I served it, it was 232 calories per serving plus the rice, so about 382 calories. That plus a salad is a reasonable meal for me.  It might not be for my husband, but for me that's fine. Now, I should note that I didn't use the full amount of greens that the recipe calls for, just what I had in my produce delivery, but I calculated the calories based on the recipe, not what I actually did. Now, for a side dish, this ends up being pretty pricey! $5.70 per serving for everything (but a more reasonable $2.38 per serving as I made it). Of course, if you get fewer servings out of the recipe, serving it as a main course instead, the price jumps to $7.84 per serving if you have to get everything. Of course, since I had many of the items on hand, it was only $3.17 per serving for me -- basically, I ended up getting a whole week's worth of dinners for around $20 -- and that will really stretch your stipend.