Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ham it Up

Always wanting to be the center of attention...

I remember being described as a ham when I was growing up. What can I say? I like to make jokes, even bad ones. I was in some fantastic school musicals in high school including: Annie Get Your Gun, West Side Story, Music Man and 42nd Street. I am not sure that if you met me at this point in my life you would picture it. It really depends on whom you ask.

West Side Story is by far my favorite musical; it is also my favorite movie. I played the role of 'Anita' (played by Rita Moreno in the movie). She is one of my favorite characters of all time. She is smart, snappy, saucy and sexy. Playing that role in high school was one of my favorite memories growing up. I got to belt some great alto solos and trot around the stage, tossing my hair, stomping my feet and flapping my Spanish-style skirts. The accent came easily to me as I simply impersonated my Puerto Rican mother.

My musical days are behind me, but you may catch me occasionally singing a show tune in the car or impersonating my mom at the dinner table. Speaking of dinner table, Spanish, music and ham...I made something TASTY last week.

After Christmas dinner, we were left with what had been the center of attention that day: the ham. I have never eaten so much ham in my life in the days following the holiday (not that I am complaining), but I needed a way to put some of those leftovers to good use. Black beans slow-cooked with ham and tomato did the trick. Beans are the musical fruit after all. I like this recipe because you do not have to start with dry beans to get them to turn out flavorful. The only problem is I don't know that I can ever be satisfied eating black beans right out of the can without making them this way ever again.

Hasty Tasty Black Beans with Ham

(recipe adapted from Chef John Folse & Company - makes 6 - 8 servings)*

4 (15-ounce) cans black beans, undrained
1 pound lean or low-fat cubed ham
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onions, diced
¾ cup red bell peppers, diced
2 tbsps minced garlic
½ tsp ground cumin
3 tbsps chopped fresh cilantro
¼ tsp dried thyme
1 (10-ounce) can Rotel tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 Cup fat-free chicken stock
salt and black pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large pot over med-high heat.
Saute onions, bell peppers and garlic until tender.
Add the ham, and cook for 3 minutes.
Add cumin, cilantro and thyme, and saute for 1 minute.
Mix in the Rotel tomatoes and tomatoe paste.
Once the tomato paste is blended, add the chicken stock and black beans.
Turn up the heat to bring the beans to a boil.
Reduce to simmer and cook for 45 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

*I altered the original recipe (which was for a black bean soup) to make them thicker, more of a dish to serve over rice.

I also roasted a whole chicken, seasoned with a Goya rub, lemon, onions, olive oil and garlic.

To make the chicken, simply follow the cooking times and technique from my previous post, and season it however you like. I removed the skin from the chicken in the previous post, but I did not in this one. They were equally tender and dare I say moist so do whatever you prefer. You cannot really go wrong here.

Per an episode of Dr. Oz I watched during my vacation, I am trying to leave a couple bites of food on my plate after every meal.

...starting now, that is.

1 comment:

The Boston Lady said...

Yummy, but too late! We also ate ham for days, seemed like weeks, after Christmas. I like the sound of those beans, I will be trying this one out on Mr. T!

I wanna hear you sing!

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