Braised Yellow Beans, Heirloom Tomato Chutney & Garlic Black Pepper Sausage ((How to Feed a Family of 6 for under $10!))
Did you catch the last part of the title of this post? “How to feed a family of 6 for under $10”. It is possible, it can be simple – but it takes a small bit of planning & a well stocked pantry and fridge. I love dried beans – the meal possibilities are endless with one simple pound of dried beans. Over the years, I have trained my kiddos and hubby to appreciate beans as well – but I had to season them well. Otherwise, they would never have crossed over to the bean-lover side of the world.
So how do I flavor beans?
First, let me tell you how I cook my beans: I always use a pressure cooker. I use a pressure cooker for several reasons – mainly because I forget to start beans earlier in the day – and a pressure cooker ALWAYS saves the day for me! I saved rewards points and got my pressure cooker for free. ((It’s a Cuisinart electric pressure cooker & costs under $100)). I talk more about pressure cookers, my love for them & a few favorite recipes here, here & here.
Back to adding flavor to beans. I always add a clove or two or garlic, 2-3 bay leaves and 1-2 t of cooking oil to my beans before the go ‘under pressure’. If I have it on hand, I will add up to 32 oz of low-sodium chicken stock to the pressure cooker pot as well.
One key that is important to emphasize when talking about cooking with dried beans: do not add salt until AFTER the beans are cooked. Beans will not cook properly with the addition of salt at the beginning of the cooking process. As hard as it may be, I strongly recommend waiting to season the beans until AFTER the beans have finished their pressure cooker date.
For these braised beans, I did something TOTALLY different! In addition to the things I have already mentioned, I also added 4 stalks of diced celery ((including leaves)), 4 diced medium carrots, some raw onion, 32 oz of chicken stock, 10 oz of Chardonnay & 3T sun-dried tomatoes packed in seasoned olive oil.
I also chose a particular bean that (I recently discovered & love!) is dependable creamy yet firm, similar to a pinto but beautifully yellow – called Mayocoba. It is always fun to switch up simple ingredients, adding a bit of uniqueness and beauty to a simple rustic meal.
While the beans were cooking, I also cooked the black pepper & garlic pork sausages. I picked these up at Whole Foods because they were on sale and allowed me to add a punch of flavor to this dish for very little money. Once the sausages were cooked and crisped, I topped them with a fresh heirloom tomato chutney. In my mind, I imagined myself in a old-world Sicilian farming community and I just let the recipe reflect my daydreams. I think it worked.
All the while I was daydreaming, I was also staying focused on my goal of preparing a yummy meal for my family while keeping it under $10. Here are the ways I managed to stay within my budget:
- Three large sausages were on sale at Whole Foods – total cost $4.84
- 1 lb of mayocoba beans – 99¢
- carrots & celery – 66¢
- medium onion – 50¢
- chicken stock ((should have used my homemade stock but I forgot — but I am telling you, use homemade stock)) – Free
- Wine -$1.75
- Parm – 25¢
- Lemon zest – 25¢
- Heirloom tomatoes, home-grown – Free
- Parsley , home-grown – Free
- Garlic clove – 10¢
- sun-dried tomatoes – 50¢
- 2 bay leaves – 10¢
BONUS: we had enough leftovers for David to take 2 meals to work for lunch!!
After the beans were done in the pressure cooker, I poured them into a large soup pot & brought them to a rolling boil. I seasoned the beans to taste, using my favorite steakhouse seasoning blend & sea salt.
At the same time I was boosting the seasoning, the Chardonnay broth was thickening a bit too. It is a simple, beautiful rustic bowl of blessed comfort. I have never been to Sicily, but for a moment – my taste buds went there…and they fell in love.
Winner, winner yummy bean dinner!!
- 1 lb dried mayocoba beans, rinsed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 2 t canola oil
- 10 oz Chardonnay
- 32 oz homemade or organic low-sodium chicken stock
- 4 medium, diced carrots (unpeeled)
- 4 stalks of celery, diced (leaves included)
- 1 medium onions, diced
- 2 c water
- 3 T sun-dried tomatoes, packing in oil
- 3 links of your favorite fresh pork sausage (I used 3 links of black pepper garlic pork sausage)
- 2 large heirloom tomatoes, diced into medium/large chunks (my tomatoes were slightly green*)
- 1-2 t steakhouse seasoning (I love McCormick's Montreal Steakhouse Seasoning)
- Sea Salt to taste
- Zest of 1/2 a medium lemon
- 3-4 T fresh Italian parsley
- 3-4 T hand-grated parmesan
- Place beans and additional 'bean' ingredients in the pressure cooker. Cook according to specific pressure cooker instructions. I cooked my beans for 55 minutes on high pressure with a natural pressure release. If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can use a slow cooker, or a stove top method for preparing your beans - whichever method your prefer.
- While beans are cooking, zest the lemon, chop parsley & grate the park. Set aside.
- In a small skillet, cook sausages, turning after each side turns crisp and medium to dark brown. Top with diced tomatoes and allow the tomatoes to blend with the juices from the sausages. Cover and set aside once sausages are cooked through.
- Once beans have finished cooking, pour beans, veggies and juices into a large soup pot and place on the stove over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Season by adding steakhouse seasoning & sea salt to taste. Once beans are properly seasoned, add zest and parsley.
- Stir, remove from heat & slice sausages.
- Ladle beans into individual bowls, top with several slices of sausage, a dollop of heirloom tomato chutney, some hand-grated parmesan cheese & and few leaves of fresh parsley.
- Serves 6 with leftover beans!
- *using slightly green tomatoes allowed the chutney to stay chunky when being heated over the sausage.