Sunday Dinner

Originally, this would have been Anna and David’s weekend to cook. But that would have made the Sunday after Thanksgiving our weekend. I thought that I would rather cook now and on Thursday than on Thursday and Sunday, so we traded. I also had a plan. When I went to the store and bought all those nice sauces, I also bought some dried fava beans. I only vaguely remember the last time that I cooked with them so I didn’t remember how much work they were.

I got out the crockpot and put them on Saturday afternoon thinking that I would be able to be ahead of the game for using them in Sunday’s dinner. They didn’t seem to be doing anything for the first two hours that they were cooking. Within the next hour, they went from completely hard to total mush. Somewhere in between there, I should have taken them out and removed the hull. Well, deal with it. I turned them off and waited until after the OU game to start the dehulling process. The skins on these guys made it a real nightmare. The beans that had split were so mushy that it was like squeezing toothpaste. That was not what I was hoping for. I wound up gently peeling the skin away and plopping the mush into the keeper bowl. The ones where the skin didn’t split, were in good shape. But the skins didn’t split for a reason. They was damn touch. In some cases, I had to use a paring knife in by bean-slickened fingers to cut one side of the bean and peel it out. Multiply this by about a thousand beans and you have the recipe for a very late night. I didn’t hit the bed until two. But all the beans were hulled and I went from having two pounds of dried beans to five pounds of bean mush. I still had not decided what I was going to make them into.

My research on the web Sunday morning kept coming across “foule Madammas” in stews and with sausage. It seems that madammas is just mashed fava beans so I was half way there. We had some soy sausage in the freezer and canned tomatoes in the cupboard. That put me closer. All I needed from WallyWorld was some potatoes and it was a meal. A little lettuce medley, some vine-ripe tomatoes and some feta with cranberry cheese would make a good salad. Some wheat steak rolls would be nice. I got home and diced some onions and started them sweating in olive oil. (Doesn’t every recipe start with sweating some onions) I diced the potatoes and put them in with the canned tomatoes and added about a cup of veggie broth. After twenty minutes of slow sweating the onions went into the potato/tomato mix with some oregano and terragon and five-spice and I got busy browning the soy sausage. I never like that I lose some of the sausage to the pan. It’s just the nature of the beast that as it cooks in olive oil, some of it adhers to the pan surface. If anyone knows a trick to prevent this, I’m all ears. After I’ve got some nice brown bits, I put that into the stew as well. I let that simmer for five minutes or until the potatoes are done. Then at last, I add the madammas and return it to a simmer. Nuke the rolls and serve the salad, it’s dinner.

The stew really was quite bland. I’ll admit that I had to spice mine up with chipotle sauce. David went for the jalapeno sauce. Thea and Anna put some balsamic vinegar in theirs. Anne and her mother just added some salt. Thea reminded me that bland was not bad and that it wasn’t tasteless. It was in her opinion a decent base to add a sauce to. She even opted to keep the little that was remaining for another day.

While we were serving up the blackberry cobbler (did I mention that I cooked a frozen cobbler for dessert) and eggnog ice cream (thank you, Braums) David asked if my freezer always made that strange sound. I reassured him that it always made it when the ice-maker’s feedline had a leak and it was fine. Except that the ice-maker’s feedline has a leak in it. Relax. I know where the shut off valve is and it can’t have been leaking long as there is no appreciable puddle anywhere. I guess that I’ve got a project for the day after Thanksgiving.

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