Monday, February 28, 2011

Cheap Eats: Beans and Rivals

Pin It It's been cold lately in the Pacific Northwest - even out here on the Island.  A good day for some warm comfort food.  My mother grew up in Pennsylvania.  So even though her mother was Italian and generally cooked with an Italian bent, she also learned some good 'ole Pennsylvania Dutch fare as well.  I remember as a little girl filling my belly with beans and rivals.  Of course, there were never enough rivals!

Start off with a meaty ham bone. I freeze the ham bone left over from a baked ham for just this use.  If you don't have a ham bone, you can use 2-3 ham hocks available in the meat department at your favorite grocery store.  Shouldn't cost you more than about $1.50/ham hock.  Boil the ham bone in a 6-qt dutch oven filled with water, then simmer for at least an hour. The meat will fall off the bone. Remove the bone(s) and break apart the meat.

You will need about 2 cups of cooked white beans.  I use either cannellini beans or northern beans.  If you use canned beans, rinse and drain ahead of time.  Add the beans to the ham broth.  You can also add a small onion (chopped) and/or 1-2 cups of cubed potatoes if you have them on hand.  Raise the heat to bring the broth to a low rolling boil again. 

To make the rivals, mix two cups of flour, about 1 tsp of salt and pepper with some water
(about 1/2 cup should do). 
Mix using a fork to make crumbly dough. 
Drop bits of dough in hot broth. 
The rivals will sink to the bottom and then float to the top when cooked.
Add salt and pepper to the broth to your liking. 
Serve when cooked or simmer on low until ready to serve.

Great served with a crusty country bread to "slop up the juice" as my dad would say.

Don't mind the nippy cold weather when I can warm my belly and my heart with great comfort food and the memories of mother's kitchen.

3/7/11 Update: Link ups:

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