Hobo Monday May – Chick Pea Battle May 5, 2009Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Cooking Challenge, Food, random stuff.
As of this writing, it is the first Monday of May. As of this reading, of course, it’s the first Tuesday, but the actual cooking was done on Monday, so that’s what we’re going with. This totally counts as Hobo Monday.
Crud. What can you do with chick peas besides hummus, anyway?
Here we go. Allez cuisine!
Chick peas, huh? Well, I’ve pretty much only ever had chick peas when they’ve been garbanzo beans, and then, as a topping on a salad bar. (Have I mentioned that I don’t get out much?) Somehow, though, I don’t think that’s quite what we have in mind for an actual cheap-ass Monday, is it?
So anyway. Chick peas. Kind of middle eastern, or maybe Mediterranean.
Several years ago, I bought The Essential Mediterranean Cookbook. Have you ever had a book salesman come to your office? He leaves about 20 different “sample” books for people to look at, then he’ll come back in a week or so and if there’s something you want, you can just buy it at a reasonably decent price. Well, there was this guy, he used to come through two or three times a year, and I’d always buy something. So one year I got this cookbook. I know, I bought a cookbook – you’re shocked, right? Anyway, according to this book, the Mediterranean is a pretty big area – “Mediterranean food” covers a huge range of cuisines, doesn’t it?
So for our Chick Pea Challenge, we look to Spain. Spain. Land of bullfighting and rioja. Oh, and the La Tomatina. And chorizo sausage. We like chorizo sausage.
So what could be more up our alley than Chickpeas With Chorizo Sausage? Indeed. And it appears to be fairly simple, besides. Unfortunately, we went to the supermarket and priced chorizo sausage, and, in Rochester, chorizo sausage doesn’t work so well within the monetary guidelines of Hobo Monday.
Back to the drawing board, I guess. Well, hold on a minute. Surely we can some to some . . . compromise, can’t we? Of COURSE we can. It’s Cheap-Ass Monday, after all – it’s all about feeding ourselves a healthy AND tasty dinner on the cheap. We can do this!
So while we pretty much kind of made this up as we went along, we did work with some guidance. We started with the aforementioned recipe for Chickpeas With Chorizo Sausage, and we also kind of borrowed the idea for our sausage stand-in from another blog.
Peeps soaked 165 grams (which is about 3/4 cup) (or 5.5 oz.) of dried chickpeas in enough water to cover. He left that to soak overnight, as is the custom with dried beans. Even if they are called chick PEAS. They’re beans.
Sure, we could have gone the “canned garbanzo bean” route, but where’s the fun in that?
Meanwhile, in the morning, he set his sights on throwing together a reasonable facsimile of chorizo. OK, maybe not exactly a facsimile. How about a substitute?
Chorizo, much like most sausage, is all about the spices one uses, right?
In this case, we used 1½ Tablespoons smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 cloves minced garlic and a teaspoon each of black pepper and kosher salt.
Now he could have certainly used pork shoulder, which would certainly have been traditional, but in the spirit of Hobo Monday, we dug the last package of ground turkey out of the freezer – we picked up a 3-pound package a couple of weeks ago (on sale, of course!) and froze what we didn’t use in 1-lb. increments.
Uh, turkey chorizo. Yum. Right?
Yeah. Anyway. The Turkey Chorizo Sausage Product got wrapped up into a sausage-like shape and stuck in the fridge to firm up a bit until we’re ready to use it.
And while it waits, Peeps started the beans cooking in chicken broth.
They’re going to take about an hour, hour and a half to cook. In fact, the biggest objection we seem to have to chick peas is that they never taste quite “done” if you know what I mean. They just seem like an extra few minutes of simmering would have done them good, that’s all. What can I say? I’m a Boston baked bean kind of girl, I guess. I like my beans done.
Cover the dried, soaked chick peas with chicken broth, and add a cinnamon stick, 4 cloves, and a bay leaf. I just can’t seem to get away from that bay leaf. I swear, whoever declared that bay leaves need to be included in everything that cooks longer than 10 minutes must have owned stock in the Acme Bay Leaf Company.
My husband is very clever. He’s not inclined to fish four cloves and a bay leaf out of the beans, so he just plunked them in a tea ball to cook, kind of like a bouquet garni, and when the beans were done, we just pulled the tea ball out, dumped it, and washed it. Much easier than policing the cloves, eh?
The beans actually simmered about an hour and a quarter, until they were done – delightfully soft with just a hint of flavor from the cinnamon and spice they cooked with. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a couple of Tablespoons of olive oil and saute a finely diced onion, just until it’s softened.
Then we added a clove of minced garlic and the Turkey Chorizo Sausage Product.
Because the sausage had been in the freezer, it was easy to slice, then quarter the slices, before adding to the pan.
We cooked the whole mess until the meat was done (remember, it’s poultry, and as such, need to be cooked completely).
Since the meat was lean turkey, rather than the traditional fattier pork, we did find ourselves in need of a little extra lubricant in the pan. And since chorizo is, in normal circumstances, a smoked, or at least cured, sausage, which our turkey was not, we decided to take matters into our own hands.
Not the last time, but the time before, when we ordered meat from Burger’s Smokehouse, those very nice people included a tub of their very own Skillet Seasoning. What it actually is, I think, is bacon grease. Or ham grease. Some kind of grease. Exactly what we needed to add some smoky goodness to the turkey, anyway. And it was FREE! (Note that if we didn’t have the Skillet Seasoning lying around, I’d have just used regular bacon grease. I have a Bacon Grease Stash in the back of my fridge, just like any other civilized cook does.)
And so. We sauteed the onion, garlic, a pinch of dried thyme, and about a pound of chorizo-esque turkey sausage in just enough smoky pork grease to keep it from burning, until the turkey is thoroughly done, thus avoiding the whole salmonella-but-at-least-it’s-not-swine-flu threat.
So, the turkey sausage is cooked. We add the now-cold beans chick peas and get them heated back through. Looks, uh, lovely, doesn’t it?
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention – when Peeps opened the bag of chick peas, he noticed that there was a recipe on the back of the bag.
Chick Peas with Chorizo Sausage. And Rice.
Seriously. Evidently this dish is not as unique as we first thought, is it?
Have I mentioned that I don’t get out much?
So we made some rice to go with it – why not, right?
And, of course, we finished with some fresh parsley. That would be fresh from our garden parsley.
Cost breakdown for entire meal:
5.5 oz. dried chickpeas - $.66
spices (smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, salt, pepper, thyme) – pantry staples
3 cloves garlic – that’s pretty much a staple, too – how do you price three cloves of garlic, anyway?
1 quart chicken broth - $1.29
1 pound ground turkey – $.99 – I told you I got it on sale!
1 cup rice – that’s really a pantry staple too, but ultimately a cup of rice costs us about $.25.
1 onion – let’s see, last month, we figured that 2 onions cost $.15, and this month, we only used one, so . . . let’s call it $.08 for the onion.
Grand total cost for three servings (2 for dinner plus one for lunch) of Cheap Hobo Chick Peas With Turkey Chorizo Sausage Product And Rice: $3.27
ADDED IN LATER BECAUSE I’M KIND OF AN IDIOT SOMETIMES: And a D’oh! moment – I totally forgot to mention that this was really really surprisingly good! We were not sure, what with the ground turkey standing in for sausage and all, but it was great!