10.10.2006

Pantry Raid

One can of solid pack pumpkin: $1.29.
One quart of organic beef stock: $3.29 (and totally worth it, for its being the only low-salt, no-fat beef broth out there. Chicken seems to have the monopoly on the broth aisle . . . but I digress).
Package of roasted pumpkin seeds: $1.49.

Feeling virtuous for clearing out the cans of black beans in the pantry and not letting the half ham steak and red onion in the refrigerator go to waste: priceless.

I always feel like the state of my kitchen is stuck between the two extremes of what looks like no food or a heck of a lot of leftovers. I also feel that lately in a quest for diversity and entertaining meals, I’ve ignored the things that I have on hand. Not only is this wasteful and impractical, it means I have run out of room on the lower shelf of my pantry – the crucial one, as it’s about the only one I can reach without being on tiptoes. Time for a proper pantry raid. It’s kind of like a scrap Iron Chef on your own kitchen scavenger hunt – finding as much as you can in the kitchen already and buying the bare minimum.
Along the way I found a new favorite of the alcohol substitutions, which offers both useful other alcohol and non-alcoholic stand-ins for what isn’t in your pantry. I can’t say how close a mix of red wine and apple cider comes to sherry, but it worked for me.

BLACK BEAN PUMPKIN SOUP
adapted from Gourmet, November 1996

three 15 1/2 oz cans black beans
1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, well-drained
1/2 large red onion, cut in 1/8 inch dice
1 small yellow onion, cut in 1/8 inch dice
5 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 Tbsp cumin
scant 1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
1/2 stick (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter
4 c low-salt, fat-free beef stock
1 15 oz can solid pack pumpkin
1/3 c merlot plus 3+ Tbsp apple cider to equal 1/2 c liquid
8 oz ham steak, cut into 1/8-1/4 inch dice
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
for garnish: sour cream, scallion, and roasted pumpkin seeds

Rinse and drain 2 cans of the black beans and place in a food processor with the drained tomatoes. Coarsely puree together. Rinse and drain the remaining can of black beans and mash slightly with an avocado masher or fork.
In a large heavy soup pot cook the onions, garlic, cumin, and salt and pepper in the butter over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion is softened and beginning to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the bean puree and mashed beans. Stir in the stock, pumpkin, and merlot/apple cider until combined. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Meanwhile, warm the ham briefly in a skillet over medium heat, about 2-3 minutes.
Before serving, add the ham and vinegars to the soup and simmer for another minute or so or until heated through.
Serve soup garnished with a dollop of sour cream, some chopped scallion and pumpkin seeds.

1 Comments:

Anonymous peabody said...

I did this with cookies the other day.
Looks good, I like the idea of black beans and pumpkin.

6:30 PM  

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