Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pintos with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

So, this dish is a little different because there's several things for which to include recipes. The reason is because I have a large list of menu ideas taped to the inside of my kitchen cupboard that I refer to constantly. These are dishes that I've created or modified, and instead of wondering what to make every night, I make a weekly menu from it, along with a new recipe or two. Well, this dish is one of our basics that we have frequently. My husband introduced me to dried beans; I had no idea they existed before him. And for years he put up with my canned beans. Not only that, but I would drain whatever liquid was in the pot before serving them to him. So, for two or three years he ate dry canned beans without complaint. Then one day, he asked in frustration, "Why do you drain the beans?" I was surprised and thought about it and said, "Because my mom did." That's when he took me under his Southern tutelage, showed me, to my astonishment, bags of beans and instructed me to not drain them. Instead, a natural gravy would form from the long, slow process of cooking the beans. The longer the better because then he doesn't have to bother to chew, which he finds overrated and unnecessary if the food is cooked properly. Have I mentioned he's high maintenance? There's so much I could tell! Anyhow, he says this natural bean gravy hits a spot in his tummy so sweetly that reminds him of his childhood where his family, with nine other siblings, ate beans every night of the week. So, now we have beans all the time, and I throw along mashed potatoes and gravy. The only other acceptable potato subsitution would be fried, and then he likes it cut a certain way, and then...oh well, you get the idea. After that, we add any steamed veggie we have handy. So, let me show you our easy, basic way to make our staple meal. Hope you like it!


Pintos with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Ingredients:

Beans:

1 pound of dried pinto beans
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbs. garlic powder
1 box of vegetable broth
Water to cover

Mashed Potatoes:

10 russet potatoes
1 stick of vegan margarine
1 cup of soy milk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tbs. garlic powder

Gravy:

1/4 cup vegan margarine
3 Tbs. flour
3 cups of vegetable broth
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast flakes
A few shakes of liquid smoke
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Directions:

For the beans: Our family eats beans so frequently that we are not bothered by gas issues. If you are, I would suggest soaking them overnight first, then draining them. For us, I put them in a medium pot and sort them for grit. Pour water to cover about one inch over the beans and bring to a boil. Let boil for five minutes, then drain and rinse thoroughly. Pour the beans back in the pot along with the box of broth and water to cover again. Cook on medium heat for two hours, stirring and adding water as necessary. Lower the heat to medium low, add the spices and cook for another hour. Your beans should be nice and tender, with water about a half an inch above the beans when done.

For the mashed potatoes: Peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks. Put in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and let boil for fifteen minutes. Drain (you can save the potato water for soup, if you wish) and put the potatoes back in the pot off the burner. Add the margarine and mash with a potato masher. Add the milk, and more if necessary, to get a creamy mixture. Add the spices and mash again until there are no chunks. No extra margarine is added at the table, just a few shakes of salt and pepper. My oldest blessing shuns the gravy and just adds white vinegar - yuck!

For the gravy: Heat the margarine over medium heat in a small pot. When melted, add the flour and whisk. Slowly add the broth while whisking. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to whisk over medium high heat. When it begins to boil, turn down heat to low and whisk for one more minute. This will thicken up even more the next day.

Add whatever vegetable or salad you like and enjoy this simple, budget-friendly meal that feeds a large family with enough for leftovers. Feeds five hungry vegans for a couple of days.

15 comments:

  1. My favorite 3 foods in one dish. This will definitely be my meal for tomorrow...thanks!

    http://nuestracena-vegancuisine.blogspot.com

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  2. Oh, good, Millie! I'm glad you like it.

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  3. BM- My mother and I did not have much money while I was growing up, and she often served fried potatoes with pork and beans and fried eggs, it was my favorite meal. As soon as I saw this you transported me back to 1985, sitting on the step stool watching my mother peeling potatoes for our dinner! Thank you so much...
    My mother died in 2006 and I miss her so much, but you took me back to a wonderful time in my life. You see, I never knew we were poor, my momma made up for it with her love and dedication to raising me...
    I am going to make this very soon!
    Hugs!

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  4. Brandi, I'm so glad it meant something to you. It sounds like a very similar story to my husband's. I don't think most kids know when they are going without, as long as they get all the love they need. We struggled as well, not as much as my husband, but I remember the powdered milk and spam very well. I'm sorry about the loss of your mom, and I hope you enjoy the meal you make in memory of her. :) Oh, and I was worried someone would call me BM - yikes. We gotta think of another nickname, girl. :P

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  5. Funny, I'm soaking beans right now, and it's my first time!! I was using canned beans as well, and decided to give this a whirl. Just wondering, what "yeast flakes" are?

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  6. Good luck with beans. I hope they turn out! Nutritional yeast flakes are deactivated yeast, which doesn't sound appetizing by just its name. However, it's quite tasty. It comes in flakes and powder, and you can find it in that natural foods section in your store either in small bags or in the bulk section. It's a great source of protein and can taste cheesy or nutty, and can be tucked into several dishes to add a nice flavor and nutritional punch. Hope this helps!

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  7. Blessed mama...lol
    What is your name and I will call you that! I thought about it after I sent it...giggle, but hey people might not put two and two together, you never know~

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  8. Brandi, e-mail me. blessedmama@pacbell.net

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  9. Blessedmama,

    I love the bean story. You made me smile. We all have stories like that we could tell.

    I grew up with a mom that not only hated to cook but was terrible at it. My grandmom did teach me a few things but she died when I was 11 and we lived 700 miles from her so I didn't have much contact time with her. Your bean story reminded me of some of my cooking trials and tribulations. Thanks for reminding me of those funny times.

    Alicia

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  10. Alicia, I told my husband that if you commented, you would mention something about the anecdote. I know from the past, that you've compared our husbands' humors. But, yes, childhood cooking stories can be interesting too. Considering the lack of training you had in that area, you've become quite a success! Here's to bean broth!

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  11. I did notice the hubby humor. He is much like my Dan. Although I think my hubby would have commented much sooner. ;-)

    That is very sweet of you, thanks! I like to say I didn't pick up any bad cooking habits from my mom since she was never in the kitchen. To this day (at 80) the woman still can't cook. Boggles the mind doesn't it?

    Alicia

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  12. That explains why she appreciates your cooking so much! How nice for her to have you in her life.

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  13. Looks delicioso! I grew up using dry beans and peas of all kinds - it's a staple here in the Caribbean. Glad you learned that lesson. They are so much better healthwise and cheaper than the canned ones aren't they?

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  14. I never thought of beans and mashed potatoes. Great combination idea!

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  15. Thanks you, Jenn and S.V., for your comments. We love beans around here, and my kids love singing the bean song just as much. What I also like is the budget-friendly aspect of it.

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