Published on the Doomstead Diner on December 6, 2015
Bear Creek Soups and Uncle Ben's Long Grain & Wild Rice: A Marriage made in Doomer Heaven
Discuss this recipe in the Diner Pantry
I've put up a few Gumbo Recipes for the SNAP Card Gourmet series over the last couple of years, but since there are endless possibilities right now while the shelves are still chock full of food goodies at your local Food superstore, I thought this week I might clue the Cheap gourmets here on a new recipe I came up with this week.
To review the Rules here on SNAP Card Gourmet recipes, they have to come in at $5/day or under for enough calories for an individual to make it through the day without getting progressively skinnier, unless of course you were obese to begin with in which case you should only be spending $1/ day for vitamins and some roughage until you slim down. LOL.
The other rules of SNAP card recipes is you have to be able to cook them up on simple cooking apparatus, as simple as a single burner propane or kerosene wick or rocket stove if absolutely necessary. Open campfires also can be used for SNAP card recipes, and Solar Ovens too. The main thing for a SNAP card recipes is it is not dependent on all the conveniences you find in a typical McMansion Kitchen. You can of course cook up these recipes in such a kitchen, you don't HAVE to be foreclosed on and Stealth Van living to enjoy these Epicurean Delights! 🙂
Used for this recipe were my two usual cooking apparati, the Two Burner Folding propane stove and the portable grill. In this case the grill was not used over the open flame, I dropped an Iron Skillet on top of it to sizzle some bacon.
The Base of this Gumbo is a package of Bear Creak Tortilla Soup, a dried soup mix in a vacuum sealed bag which will last until you personally go extinct if it is under 20 years or so before you normally would get your final Ticket to the Great Beyond. Said soup comes in ON SALE here at 3 Bears Food Warehouse for $3.00/package, when it does I usually buy around 10 of different varieties.
Second major base of the soup is Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice, one of the first Seasoned Rice packages of which now there are a bazillion varieties, but this is one I made in my youth and remains a favorite. I haven't made it in a few years though, and I never thought to include it in a Gumbo before. As I was cruising 3 Bears I spied this also ON SALE for $1.50/box.
Now, this is really expensive for rice and you could do a similar Gumbo just using regular rice and it would only cost you maybe 25 cents. However what you also get with the package is the flavorings and spices, and you would need several different bottles of spices to mimic that, which if you are homeless or Van Dwelling is generally not practical to do. So you pay a premium for the rice for the package of spices, and as a bonus you get the Wild rice in there which has a nicer texture IMHO than regular white or brown rice.
Next ingredient is your can of beans for some good vegetable protein, in this case I used black eyed peas instead of my usual Black Beans or Red Kidney Beans. Doesn't matter which one you choose though. Can of beans costs around 80 cents.
For your Fresh Vegetable/Vitamins in this gumbo, I used two large Alaska Grown Carrots. The whole bag costs $1, there are about 8 carrots in the bag so 2 carrot is about 25 cents. Cheapest ingredient in the gumbo and probably the most nutritional value in vitamins.
Finally in this Gumbo the Anmal Protein & Fat choice was bacon, which doesn't come too cheap most of the time these days. However, I didn't use that much, just 3 slices. Call it $1 for the bacon. So total cost for the Gumbo:
Bear Creek Tortilla Soup: $3
Uncle Ben's Long Grain & Wild Rice: $1.50
Can of Beans: $.80
Total Cost:: $6.55
Now you are going to say, "But RE, you exceeded your SNAP Card Budget of $5/Day!". That would be true if you ate it all in one day, but you don't, it is 2 days worth of Lunch (cup) and Dinner (Bowl). So actual Daily Cost is $3.25 roughly. This leaves over $1.75 for your Breakfast. Total calorie count here per day for the Gumbo is around 1100 calories. Add in my traditional Breakfast of Smoked Ham, an Egg and a Slice off the Sharp Cheddar Cheese block on a half a French Roll and you are now at 1500 calories, which is generally plenty for me. What's the cost of that?
French Roll $.60 (Cut in half, $.30/day)
Smoked Ham Slice: $.50 (High Estimate)
So the total Daily cost for the 2 days eating this delicious Gumbo and staying well fed is $4.55. The $.45 you saved on thhese two days of eating goes in your Monthly savings for a Premium Meal each month of your choice. If you average saving $.50 each day for 20 days of the month, that is an extra $10 to spend with the normal $5, for a total of $15. You can buy a nice thick and juicy Ribeye Steak to BBQ for that! In fact, about half the time I actually only spend $3-4 just having my breakfast sandwich and some Ramen Noodles or a Baked Potato with some sour cream or something like that. So in the monthly budget there is more like one Premium or Semi-Premium meal in there each week. Semi-Premium substitutes something like a Hamburger with all the fixins on a Kaiser Roll for the Ribeye Steak.
OK, so what is the cooking proceedure for the Gumbo?
It depends if you are working with 3 burners as I was, or if you are doing it all on one Burner. In the latter case you work sequentially, frying the bacon in the skillet first, simmering the rice until done 2nd, then simmering the Tortilla Soup and beans, and finally combining all the ingedients at the end. Takes more time this way obviously, so I do it on 3 burners since I have 3 burners. No difference in fuel usage either way.
Step 1: Fry Bacon in skillet until crisp, remove and plac on paper towel to cool. Reserve the fat in the frying pan.
Step 2: Slice and Dice the Carrots into small chunks of about 1/4" in size.
Step 3: Add 2 cups of water to a small pot and the Uncle Ben's Rice and the diced Carrots. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and let simmer until the water is absorbed by the rice and the carrots are softened. About 20 minutes.
Step 4: In a large pot, add the tortillam soup mix and 8 cups of water and simmer around 30 minutes on a low flame or in a Slow Cooker. Add the beans and let simmer another 20 minutes, then add the rice.
Step 5: Crumble the bacon into the pot, then take the reserved Bacon Fat and pour that in the pot also. This makes the gumbo much richer and calorie dense, and also more flavorful. You can however instead make it a gumbo lite without adding the fat to it. Save the bacon fat though if you don't use it in the Gumbo, it's great for frying your morning egg.
Step 6: Let simmer another 15 minutes for the flavors to blend, then ladle into your Bowl and ENJOY!
Total cooking time with the 3 burner method is around 1.5 hours, add an extra hour or so if you do it all on one burner.
Eat Hearty and Eat CheapTM, the SNAP Card Gourmet Way!