Pork and Beans-A A +A
Pots and Pans
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
ONE of the simplest dishes I grew up with was this very basic and simple “eaten straight from the can” food. Although it can be eaten as it is, I prefer it to be cooked with some other ingredients to make it more complete as a meal.
I am sure we all remember the imported “Hunts,” “Heinz” and “Campbells” pork and beans, although we used to call it beans and beans because literally, one can only find a small cube of pork (with more fat) in a can. You all must be laughing right now, see what I mean? I always wonder why it is really called as such and even after all this years, I am still in search for the answer! Any ideas?
Lately, we have seen several brands of pork and beans that is locally manufactured, we even have beef and beans (again, a piece of beef, that is!), chicken and beans.
In the United States, especially the southern part and countries from Central America, they use a lot of beans in their diets. So, it won’t be surprising to find several varieties and flavors of beans in the market. Some are made into soups, side dishes and also included in wraps (like burrito and tacos).
Anyway, it filled our tummies for the longest time, aside from a few other main courses we would usually have. My mom would sauté some minced garlic and sliced onions in hot oil and when they are done, she would put in some ground meat (a lot more if the budget permits!), and sometimes, small slices of meat. Once the meat had changed its color, a can of pork and beans is added, plus half a can of water is poured into the mixture.
But because she sees the importance of eating vegetables, she will also add a cup or more of shredded cabbage, which added crunch to the dish. Something saucy, something soft, something crunchy all in a dish! How can you beat that? She will let it simmer for a while and if there is a need to adjust the flavor or taste of it, a little salt and pepper is added towards the end of the cooking process.
Served over rice, this is already a complete meal by itself. Whether served in the morning as breakfast, which I truly adore especially with sunny-side up egg and with some hot chocolate, this is truly a comfort food!
Served for lunch or dinner, it is already perfect by itself. But adding a little side dish like adobo can make this a wonderful meal!
Aside from being a great meal, this can also be cooked with more sauce, say like adding a little catsup to “extend” the amount of the dish. One simple dish that can feed a lot of people and thereby save a lot of money too.
In hotels and some breakfast inns, pork and beans is served rather as it is, straight from the can, sometimes cold, which I really don’t mind. I am so used to this and I still look forward to it every time I am billeted in one. However, having other equally loved food items like danggit, chorizo, longganiza, tapa and tocino would be heavenly!
Sometimes, depending on my “mood,” I also like this with bread. I would dip my bread into it or scoop a tablespoon or two on top of the bread. The fun part is when it starts to drip and I have to make sure it goes into my mouth and not somewhere else! This is what we also call “finger lickin’ good”!
And this dish is not only easy to prepare, but nutritious too. Beans are good, with added meat and vegetables, what else is needed? Rice, perhaps?
So enjoy and have a great comforting food today!
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 02, 2012.