*Note: This recipe is easily made vegetarian/vegan by substituting seitan, tempeh, or even just more beans, for the chorizo, and sautéing the veggies in olive oil at the beginning.
I know I said I wasn’t going to post until after the end of the semester, but this recipe is too good not to share. I am devouring a bowl of it as I write this.
Since abandoning vegetarianism back in October, I’ve had a hard time finding recipes that call for small amounts of meat, rather than recipes that feature meat as the main focus of the dish, which seems to be mostly what’s out there. Meat is expensive – especially naturally-raised meats (which are healthier and much better for the environment, but cost about three times as much as “conventional” meats) – so I figured that recipes using meat as an accent would be a great way to eat some meat without breaking the bank. But you definitely have to hunt for recipes like these, and a number of the ones I’ve tried have been disappointing to boot.
There’s a cookbook, Mostly Meatless by Joy Manning, that is supposed to provide exactly the types of recipes I’m looking for, but I haven’t gotten my hands on it yet. Plus, I tend to be skeptical of cookbooks that target a foodie audience, as they’re frequently filled with finicky, time-consuming recipes that, frankly, I have no patience for. So my most recent experiment has been to take really yummy, really solid vegetarian or vegan recipes and add some meat, either as a substitute for another ingredient, or as a flat-out addition.
This recipe for Jambalaya is adapted from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. I’m sure these two ladies would be appalled that I’ve taken their vegan masterpiece and added pork, but…well, pork is tasty. The original recipe calls for seitan – generally considered a meat substitute – which made it way too easy to just use pork instead and call it amazing. (And incidentally, naturally-raised pork chorizo comes in at $2 less per lb. than seitan at my food co-op – meat substitutes are the most expensive food of all.) However, the recipe also contains a big, hearty amount of beans, which makes it a good way to get a lot of protein without relying exclusively on meat.
This recipe is totally a meal in itself- a big bowl of this and you’re good to go.
Bean and Chorizo Jambalaya (adapted from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero)
- 1 1/2 c. or 3/4 lb. kidney beans, washed and soaked, OR 2 15 oz. cans kidney beans, drained
- 1 lb. chorizo
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped/minced
- 3 heaping Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 c. cooking sherry or vegetable/chicken broth, water + bullion stuff, etc.
- 1 1/2 c. or 3/4 lb. rice (brown or white), washed
- 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1 tsp. marjoram
- 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. celery seed
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 3 more c. vegetable/chicken broth, water + bullion, etc.
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
If you are cooking your beans from scratch, get those cooking: Cook soaked beans in a regular pot for an hour or so, or in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes.
Remove the chorizo from its casings by slicing each lengthwise and removing the inner meat. Discard the casings. Heat a large pot over medium heat, add the chorizo, and use a wooden spoon or whatever you’ve got to break it up into chunks, similar to ground beef. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chorizo has browned on the outside, about 5 minutes.
Add the chopped bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic, and continue to cook over medium until the vegetables are very soft, about 12-14 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Use the cooking sherry or 1/2 cup broth to deglaze the bottom of the pan, and use a wooden spoon to scrape stuck bits off the bottom and sides. Add the rice, stir, and let cook for a further 4 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, beans (drained of their cooking liquid, though you can reserve this if you want), bay leaf, and all the herbs/spices. Add the 3 cups of broth, bullion stuff, etc. (if you are using bullion, I recommend adding 3 cups of kidney bean cooking water instead of plain water), and bring to a simmer.
If you are using white rice, you will need to cook this for about 30 minutes; brown rice will take 55-60. Give it a stir every 10-15 minutes or so. When the rice is done, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
Cost of core ingredients: Meat is pricey, and adds to the cost of this dish considerably. However, when all is said and done, this really isn’t bad for 6 servings of food. Ingredients are primarily organic and were all purchased at my food co-op.
- 1 lb. naturally-raised pork chorizo @ $5.99/lb. = $5.99
- 3/4 lbs. kidney beans @ $2.19/lb. = $1.64
- 1 green bell pepper: $1.09
- 1 large onion: ~$1.20
- 3/4 lbs. brown basmati rice @ $2.29/lb. = $1.72
- 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes: $2.50
Total for at least 6 servings: $14.14 + the cost of small amounts of celery, garlic, tomato paste, cooking sherry, broth/bullion, and all herbs/spices.