notes from maggie's farm
We recently celebrated a family birthday by taking a road trip to San Benito, in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, near the Mexico border.
Our visit was two-fold: to share the blessings of a sister church for their Fiesta de la Gratitud and to deliver a large basket of beans and rice that our church, First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, in Burnet, collected in preparation for and in response to our planned trip. We were to meet with Filiberto Pereira of Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries and deliver our offering to their Rice and Beans Project.
To celebrate our adventure-filled, successful birthday road trip, and in honor of the special time we shared with our friends in the Valley, we prepared our own little gratitude feast upon our return home. Over recollections of a most eventful 24 hours of food, fellowship and fun from San Antonio, San Benito, South Padre Island, Weslaco, on the Border, and then back home, we celebrated with Cumin Lime-Brined Chicken, Chile Cheese Corn Muffins, and, the final recipe we share today,
Smoky Cider-Stewed Beans with Apple and Chorizo
serves 6 for entree or 12 for side dish
1 lb pinto or red beans
2 small or 1 medium onions, chopped
1 cup apple cider
2 medium cooking apples (see chart below for best apples with which to cook) cored and chopped
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
kosher salt, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced, divided
1 smoked ham hock
8 oz spanish chorizo, sliced 1/4" thick
cooked white rice
1 bunch sliced scallions, with 2 tablespoons reserved for garnish
Cooking Apples—see chart below for best apples with which to cook
Smoked Paprika--I used a mixture of sweet and hot smoked paprika's. For no heat at all, use all sweet. If you're a spicy kinda gal or guy, use all hot. To learn more, visit this link.
Spanish Chorizo is a much different product than Mexican Chorizo. See this link to learn the difference.
Rinse and sort dried beans. Cover with water by *double the volume. Bring to a hard boil, then remove from heat. Let sit, covered, for 1 hour. (Alternatively, cover with water by double the volume of water and cover to let soak overnight) Drain, rinse, return to stock pot or dutch oven.
Cook at medium heat (a high simmer, or low boil) covered, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours, adding water to keep covered by two inches as needed.
Add chorizo, smoked paprika, and additional salt, if needed, and reduce to full simmer. Cook for an additional hour. (If you like beans with a little "brothier" like I do, you will probably want to continue to add more liquid during this time. If you like a thicker pot of beans, you can allow the liquid to become absorbed.) Stir in remaining tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano, sliced scallions and adjust smoked paprika and salt, to taste. Simmer for ten minutes, covered
Serve over cooked white rice, garnished with lime wedges and sliced scallion. We used this as an accompaniment to Cumin Lime-Brined Chicken, and Chile Cheese Corn Muffins, but it would fare quite well as a main dish, served with corn muffins, and perhaps this Avocado Tomato and Corn Salad.
Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries
The Rice and Beans Project provides emergency food for the hungry in the Rio Grande Valley and Mexico. Disciples Rice was founded by the late Frank Mabee, a minister and friend of founder Feliberto Pereira. It’s a ministry that has fed hundreds of thousands of refugees, orphans, and members of impoverished communities in Texas and Mexico over the past twenty-five years. In 1992, the High Plains Area of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), located in the Texas Panhandle, initiated the Disciples Beans program, contributing funds to purchase 30,000 pounds of pinto beans—a truckload of needed protein for hungry refugees. Today, the beans and rice programs provide 90,000 pounds of these basic stables to needy families, isolated villages and orphanages and childrens' homes on both sides of the U.S. and Mexico border.
In the words of Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries:
While our ministry primarily serves political refugees who are seeking safety from persecution in their home countries, our ministry has expanded to serve the needs of the poor—from emergency food, clothing and health kits to programs for young mothers and their babies. We build small homes through our Casita Project in the colonias of Matamoros, Mexico where we also help operate the Casa Bethel orphanage. We believe in educating all of God's people, and we do so through assisting with high school and college tuition support for students and through a Bible Institute in Monterrey, Mexico.
If you wish to serve God's people in need along the Texas/Mexico border, we welcome your support and mission work. If you have never stayed with us on a mission trip, we invite you to reserve a time to join us. We welcome you!
|NAME||Best Uses||Flavor Characteristic, Appearance|
|Braeburn||Sauce||Tart, sweet, aromatic, tall shape, bright color|
|Cortland||Pies, Sauces, Fruit Salad||Tart, crisp, larger than 'McIntosh'|
|Fuji||Baking||Sweet and juicy, firm, red skin|
|Gala||Dried, Cider||Mild, sweet, juicy, crisp, yellow-orange skin with red striping (resembles a peach)|
|Granny Smith||Baking||Moderately sweet, crisp flesh, green skin|
|Jonagold||Pie, Sauce||Tangy-sweet, Yellow top, red bottom|
|Jonathan||Sauce||Tart flesh, crisp, juicy, bright red on yellow skin|
|McIntosh||Sauce||Juicy, sweet, pinkish-white flesh, red skin|
|Newton Pippin||Pie, Sauce, Cider||Sweet-tart flesh, crisp, greenish-yellow skin|
|Rhode Island Greening||Pie||Very tart, distinctively flavored, grass-green skin, tending toward yellow/orange|
|Rome Beauty||Baking, Cider||Mildly tart, crisp, greenish-white flesh, thick skin|
|Winesap||Sauce, Pie, Cider||Very juicy, sweet-sour flavor, winey, aromatic, sturdy, red skin|