Author Topic: Share your peasant food secrets!  (Read 34174 times)

Sonorous Epithet

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Share your peasant food secrets!
« on: May 12, 2014, 09:04:08 AM »
Peasant food is some of the cheapest and tastiest food. But it takes knowledge and skill to cook from scratch in order to save some scratch (so to speak).

Please share some of your secrets for scratch cooking with cheap ingredients like rice, oats, potatoes, tomatoes, yams and sweet potatoes, lentils, black beans, white beans, pinto beans, red beans, chickpeas, polenta and corn/maize, cheap greens, cheap cuts of meat, and even offal.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 09:12:21 AM by Sonorous Epithet »

SethBahookey

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2014, 09:10:45 AM »
Have you taken a look at www.budgetbytes.com ?

That site has a lot of easy recipes that are pretty cheap, but I am a vegetarian so stuff is cheaper to begin with...

I also highly recommend red lentil curry. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/red-lentil-curry/

You can make a big batch of this and do lots with it. I even mix in plain yogurt with it some times and it's so tasty! DW and I also will take corn taco shells and make pseudo tacos with them.

You can always make up some potatoes as well and just eat those :)

Anything taste wise you would prefer to learn about?


GuitarStv

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2014, 09:18:25 AM »
WTF is peasant food?

huadpe

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2014, 09:29:58 AM »
In the United States, pork is much cheaper than beef or chicken.  E.g. this weekend I made a fancypants dinner for mother's day, the main protein of which was mushroom stuffed bone in pork chops ($4/lb at my local supermarket).

People don't like to make pork as much because it usually comes out dry when you cook it through, and medium rare pork isn't as pleasant (or as safe) as medium rare steak.

But there is an easy and tasty solution that will let you serve this cheap meat and keep it moist and tasty - brine.  Soak your pork in water with lots of salt, sugar, and whatever whole spices you'd like (I did black peppercorns, coriander, and mustard seed).  Leave it to soak for a few hours (more for thicker things like a tenderloin), and then cook as you normally would.

For the above mentioned pork chops, I breaded them with egg and breadcrumbs and then seared them on one side in a cast iron skillet, flipped them, and tossed them in the oven for 10 minutes or so.

Served with some mashed potatoes and a salad with homemade vinaigrette, I had a very fancypants meal for 3 for a total of about $15 - and leftovers which are my lunch at work today.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2014, 09:37:05 AM »
ooooh I will have to try brining pork! I too am always surprised by how much cheaper than beef it is... and our favorite roast chicken recipe involves brining in buttermilk, which makes basically the moistest, most delicious chicken ever, so I'm sure pork would be awesome!!

we also have an awesome crockpot pork taco recipe involving orange juice. not sure that counts as peasant food but it's soooo good.

CommonCents

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2014, 09:46:42 AM »
WTF is peasant food?

Traditional foods eaten by the lower classes. See: pea soup, polenta, trotters, chow kawy teow, etc. Often meatless, and usually made with very inexpensive ingredients. Frequently very tasty.

Also can change over time.  At one point in the US lobster used to be considered a workingman's food, because it was so plentiful and a bottomfeeder.  Now, it's more rare and considered a delicacy.

gillstone

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2014, 09:58:41 AM »
ooooh I will have to try brining pork! I too am always surprised by how much cheaper than beef it is... and our favorite roast chicken recipe involves brining in buttermilk, which makes basically the moistest, most delicious chicken ever, so I'm sure pork would be awesome!!

we also have an awesome crockpot pork taco recipe involving orange juice. not sure that counts as peasant food but it's soooo good.

Brining pork makes it awesome.  After brining with sugar, salt, pepper corns, allspice, star anise and rosemary I put it in a cast-iron skillet that has been preheated to 450F, flip after a couple minutes or so and shove in the oven until done.  Its amazing

Sonorous Epithet

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2014, 10:02:42 AM »
WTF is peasant food?

Traditional foods eaten by the lower classes. See: pea soup, polenta, trotters, chow kawy teow, etc. Often meatless, and usually made with very inexpensive ingredients. Frequently very tasty.

Also can change over time.  At one point in the US lobster used to be considered a workingman's food, because it was so plentiful and a bottomfeeder.  Now, it's more rare and considered a delicacy.

For purposes of this discussion, I would define peasant food as being inexpensive right now.

I don't want to wind up embittered at lobsters for their upward mobility, scowling at them in their tank as they waggle their antennae with an air of nonchalance. You think you're too good for me now, huh, lobster?!

Heart of Tin

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2014, 10:13:01 AM »
I love making homemade noodles. Last year my mom gave me the noodle roller that she received as a wedding pressent twenty-five years ago and had never used, and I've been making homemade noodles at least once every two weeks ever since. They don't save much money if you compare prices to the $1 per pound sale noodles (I can make about the equivilent of 1 lb. dried linguini for $.85), but the quality is much higher. Chewy dried noodles aren't even comparable to tender homemade noodles. Plus, there's more variety than you would imagine with homemade noodles. You can use different flours, eggs vs. water, oil or no oil, or add an alkalai to acheive different textures and flavors. Obviously, you can also make different shapes for different purposes. Plus, homemade noodles freeze very nicely in well floured individual portions. They go directly from freezer to boiling water with almost no increase to boiling time.

Rural

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2014, 10:39:12 AM »
WTF is peasant food?

Traditional foods eaten by the lower classes. See: pea soup, polenta, trotters, chow kawy teow, etc. Often meatless, and usually made with very inexpensive ingredients. Frequently very tasty.

Also can change over time.  At one point in the US lobster used to be considered a workingman's food, because it was so plentiful and a bottomfeeder.  Now, it's more rare and considered a delicacy.


It's regional, too. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the thread title was greens, crowder peas, and hoecakes (which are cornbread batter, fried).

Frankies Girl

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2014, 10:43:24 AM »
I have never had a problem with dry pork as long as I get chops "bone in." Our fave recipe is to lay out the chops in a shallow baking pan, cover with a light coating of ground corriander, then spoon some brown sugar over them, and squirt with lemon juice, then bake for 25 minutes... they come out tender and juicy with a lemon sugar glaze. For some reason, no one in my family ever fried porkchops, so I thought that was the weirdest thing when I first heard about that...

I also do my pork roasts in a crock pot. I don't brown them first as no one in my family likes the crusty outside bits. I thrown in a whole pork shoulder, add in onions, celery and spices and enough water to cover and then basically boil for about 6-7+ hours (I use high setting) and end up with so-tender-you-don't-need-to-chew pork roast. And there have never been any issues with this cooking method, and it makes the most divine pulled pork barbeque with a bit of sauce. But lately, we eat the pork roast either as is with a bit of salt and pepper and some side veggies, or we make pork sandwiches with cheese and mayo. I let the initial roast cool, and then use my hands to pull off all of the meat and discard the bones and fat and drain the liquid (we're not big on making gravy, but the liquid does make a lovely brown gravy if that's your thing)

We do a fried rice using whatever vegetables are on hand and it is especially wonderful for any veggies that I forgot about in the fridge and have gotten sad and wilted. We use brown rice instead of white to be a bit healthier. But the unfortunate secret to it being awesome is bacon grease. ;) So it's a small amount of grease, fry up whatever meat (usually chicken, but sometimes shrimp, but sometimes we just leave meat out completely) then add in veggies for a few minutes to soften slightly at the end and then set that aside,  scramble a few eggs into a little more grease, add in the rice and some green onion (or regular onion chopped) and then add a bit more grease (usually ends up with around 4 tablespoons total) and the meat/veggies, and add in some soy sauce to taste.

I also do a bean soup over rice. But I buy hamhocks if I don't have a hambone and cook the beans FOREVER (at least 4 hours after a soak) and at the very end, I'll throw in any greens in the house... this is usually kale or spinach, and add some chopped tomatoes (either a can with the mild chilies or fresh toms if I have them) and then serve over brown rice. If I got a deal on any kind of sausages (I buy meats when they clearance and then freeze) then I chop them up and add them while the beans are cooking and won't add the hamhock.

Oh! Something I grew up on - great northern beans (white beans) cooked with a hamhock until they are mushy, then add salt and pepper and ketchup. It's a bit like pork n beans. But really good. But really weird. One of my comfort foods tho. 

Love budgetbytes' Dragon Noodles.


Lately, I've been doing homemade pizza margahrita (or whatever) using the crust recipe from here:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/quick-and-easy-pizza-crust/detail.aspx

Use spaghetti sauce, mozzerella, roma tomatoes (sliced), black olives and spinach. AWESOME and tastes so much better than store bought.

Fonzico

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2014, 11:54:24 AM »
Cabbage! It's cheap, and you can do SO much with it. My favourite recipe is this one for Braised Cabbage: http://nomnompaleo.com/post/1356598429/worlds-best-braised-green-cabbage
But be warned, it takes about 3 hours. Totally worth it, if it's a weekend, and you're puttering around doing other stuff, and can check in on it every 45 mins or so.

Also, sliced up, sauteed in a pan - I usually toss in about 1/2cup of water or broth, and pop a lid on it, since it tends to burn before it softens otherwise. Add in some cooked chopped bacon, onions and cooked rice, and it tastes just like my grandfathers cabbage rolls, but without all the work!

Cabbage soup is great too - Not that tomato-y "diet soup" crap - Basically just add more broth at the end to the above recipe. And a ham hock, if you've got it :)

And slaws! Oh the slaws :) Basic coleslaw dressing is just mayo with a little vinegar, sugar and spices ( I like lots of salt and garlic, personally) But there's a million recipes out there if you'd like something a little different.

Casserole too! I've done a sauteed cabbage and finely chopped ham, topped with the root veggies of your choice. Can also add rice to this to bulk it up.

Sorry, I guess these aren't really recipes, as much as meal ideas, but I'm not much for following recipes, so it's hard to get one out of me. I just wanted to share my intense and confusing love of cabbage ;P

MissStache

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2014, 11:58:57 AM »
I think my go-to peasant food is red beans and rice, especially with a nice, crispy pone of cornbread- delicious!

I used (rehydrated) dried small red beans, but you can use a few cans of kidney beans in a pinch.

The key is a good base of chopped onions, garlic, and celery (traditonally you put green peppers in it as well, but I hate peppers so I leave them out).  Add bay leaves and cajun seasoning.  I use 1/2 water and 1/2 chicken stock for my cooking liquid and let it simmer for a long time until the beans are soft and the broth is thick.  It's and awesome and cheap meal.  You can make a huge pot and it freezes beautifully.

If you are feeling extra special, you can brown some andouille sausage or kielbasa in the pan, remove it, and then sautee the oinions in the fat left behind.  Put the sausage back into the beans just before you serve it.

Oh man...my mouth is watering!

SethBahookey

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swick

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2014, 02:43:59 PM »
Plus, homemade noodles freeze very nicely in well floured individual portions. They go directly from freezer to boiling water with almost no increase to boiling time.

Totally +1 for making your own noodles! I have never tried freezing them though, can you share how you do it? do you twirl them into little nests and freeze on a baking sheet? or is there a better way to do it?

I love this thread! I immediately thought of leftover stale bread. I make a no knead recipe without salt and it comes out very close to Tuscan bread. Once it is dried it can be used for crostini, panzenella, bread soup, sauces, ravioli filling, french toast, bread pudding...


Denarius

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2014, 03:19:42 PM »
I'm a fan of the paleo 'Transylvania stockpot'

6 ounces bacon, cut crosswise into 1 inch pieces (or same amount of finely chopped pancetta)
1 large onion, thinly sliced or chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 small green cabbage (or 1/2 large), cored, cut into wedges, then sliced
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 can (28 ounces) finely copped tomatoes or 3 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 cups chicken broth
1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or both)
2 bay leaves
1 pound smoked kielbasa

in a large  pot, cook bacon  over medium heat until bacon begins to crisp, stirring every few minutes. Add onion and garlic, sauteing until onions wilt and are translucent

Add cabbage, paprika, and black pepper and stir to mix. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring a few times.

Add tomatoes with their juice, broth, cinnamon,  and bay leaves. Raise heat to medium-high, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover,
and simmer about 45 minutes.

Add sliced kielbasa and heat through.

MrsPete

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2014, 04:04:07 PM »
To the general public, these foods are about as dead as the word "peasant".  Today's peasants, whom I suppose would be the working poor, seem to tend towards the fast food dollar menu when they want to "eat cheap". 

Annamal

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2014, 04:09:11 PM »
I've always loved the sliced red cabbage served in Turkish kebab shops here (it's tangy and almost sweet)and I finally found a recipe for it.

Chop up a red cabbage finely, leaving out the toughest parts
put the cabbage in a collander or sieve and spend about  3 minutes crushing it up with your hands (like wringing out a cloth)
sprinkle salt liberally over it
leave for 30 minutes covered in salt
toss it with about a tablespoon of lemon juice and let sit for another 30 minutes (you can also put some olive oil and .

The result will last for about a week in the fridge and is awesome.

kite

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2014, 04:28:51 PM »
I roast slices of cabbage,  drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt & pepper.

We make must-go potatoes.  We've got a Kamado style grill,  known for retaining heat a really long time.  In addition to whatever protein is being grilled,  we fill in the empty space with potatoes,  that then get turned into twice baked potatoes that can cook in the residual heat after the fire is extinguished.  The toppings are what ever meat, veggie,  bean, cheese and herb odds and ends are still in the fridge.   This is my Irish version of must-go soup.  The fully prepared potatoes are lunch or dinner for some other night in the week.   I'll stuff mushrooms this way, too.  And if I've neither mushrooms nor potatoes,  the odds and ends go Into quiche. 
Hands down, the best cookbook (that isn't really a cookbook, more of a philosophy of food book) is Tamar Adler's book Everlasting Meal.   You can learn from her book how to cook whatever happens to be cheap, abundant and in season at the farmers market.   

Heart of Tin

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2014, 05:46:43 PM »
Plus, homemade noodles freeze very nicely in well floured individual portions. They go directly from freezer to boiling water with almost no increase to boiling time.

Totally +1 for making your own noodles! I have never tried freezing them though, can you share how you do it? do you twirl them into little nests and freeze on a baking sheet? or is there a better way to do it?

Little nest method is what I use. I can't vouch for how long the last since mine are usually gone within a few days. Just make sure to flour the noodles generously.

Primm

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2014, 05:52:27 PM »
I think the key to any of these "peasant" foods is a really good aromatic base, with onion, garlic, celery, carrots etc. That creates the flavour base that the rest of the dish feeds off, as a lot of the cheap filler type foods (beans, rice, lentils etc.) are pretty bland. Getting the vegetable base right, and with plenty of flavour using cheap spices, leads to an infinite variety of filling, tasty foods, most of which can be cooked in bulk and frozen.

Dr. Doom

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #21 on: May 12, 2014, 06:02:08 PM »
DW and I do 'Russian Salad' which is cubed boiled potatoes with carrots, sliced boiled eggs, tuna fish, and olives, served warm.  It's easy to make, lasts a week, and reheats pretty well. You can sub ham for tuna if you want -- and add mayo -- but those options make it less healthy. 

We also do the Brazilian staple meal:  Rice, black beans, fried egg or two on top.  High in protein, too.

MayDay

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #22 on: May 12, 2014, 06:56:46 PM »
My favorite cookbook in this subject is called "More with Less".  It is part frugality, part using fewer of the earth's resources. 

My favorite recipe from it lately is a cabbage stir fry.  Sauté a thinly sliced cabbage (half a cabbage if it is large) in 2 T. Butter.  When almost done, crack in two eggs, and cook until the eggs are done (stir if you want, or leave the eggs whole).  Salt and pepper to taste. 

It doesn't sounds like much, but it is so yummy and cheap.  We serve over brown rice if we have some cooked, or eat plain for a quick dinner.  I thought I didn't like cooked cabbage (I am a big fan of fermented cabbage- that is a great peasant food for sure) but this recipe convinced me that I love cooked cabbage when it is done well.

deborah

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2014, 08:40:17 PM »
Plus, there's more variety than you would imagine with homemade noodles. You can use different flours, eggs vs. water, oil or no oil, or add an alkalai to acheive different textures and flavors. Obviously, you can also make different shapes for different purposes. Plus, homemade noodles freeze very nicely in well floured individual portions. They go directly from freezer to boiling water with almost no increase to boiling time.
As part of my drive to eat more vegetables, I make noodles from flour semolina and cooked spinach (it has enough moisture in it that you don't need to add water).

Peasant food tend to be basically vegetables, so these are my preference. I love Turkish recipes http://www.turkishcookbook.com/

horsepoor

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #24 on: May 12, 2014, 09:48:57 PM »
Another big fan of cabbage here.

1.  Quarter a small to medium green cabbage - cut the core out if you feel fancy
2.  Cut 4 strips of bacon in half
3.  Put each cabbage quarter on it's back on a piece of tinfoil big enough to wrap it in.  Drape 2 half slices of bacon over the quarter and pepper liberally (chile flakes are good too).
4. Wrap up and toss in the oven for 45 minutes or so, until easily pierced with a fork.

Also, Unstuffed Cabbage.  I think my husband was secretly sick of this by end of the winter.

Another one to try is green lentils cooked with butter, onions, carrots and homemade stock.

Giant pan of roasted root vegetables, possibly with cut up kielbasa in it.  Root vegetables tend to be dirt (ha!) cheap and all play well together, aside from beets staining everything they touch.

ruthiegirl

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #25 on: May 12, 2014, 09:59:09 PM »
I am a lazy peasant. 

I cook a pot of brown rice and a big pot of pinto beans and make these into meals for the next few days.  Roll rice and beans into burritos, toss rice and beans over lettuce/veggies and add salsa for a taco bowl.  Eat rice and beans with hot sauce and jalapenos.  Scramble rice and beans with eggs.  Just keep eating rice and beans. 

Super easy and way cheap.

GuitarStv

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2014, 06:32:16 AM »
I'm a fan of the paleo 'Transylvania stockpot'

6 ounces bacon, cut crosswise into 1 inch pieces (or same amount of finely chopped pancetta)
1 large onion, thinly sliced or chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 small green cabbage (or 1/2 large), cored, cut into wedges, then sliced
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 can (28 ounces) finely copped tomatoes or 3 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 cups chicken broth
1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or both)
2 bay leaves
1 pound smoked kielbasa

in a large  pot, cook bacon  over medium heat until bacon begins to crisp, stirring every few minutes. Add onion and garlic, sauteing until onions wilt and are translucent

Add cabbage, paprika, and black pepper and stir to mix. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring a few times.

Add tomatoes with their juice, broth, cinnamon,  and bay leaves. Raise heat to medium-high, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover,
and simmer about 45 minutes.

Add sliced kielbasa and heat through.

Transylvania must be a whole lot like Poland . . . because I'm pretty sure I've had that at my grandmother's.

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #27 on: May 13, 2014, 07:28:05 AM »
We cook some Mexican peasant food.  These are my two favorites that taste amazing and cost very little:

Enfrijoladas:
Corn tortillas-homemade is best and cheapest of course.  Lightly fried makes it really good.
Beans (again, best homemade)
Cheese-I like using queso fresco but cheddar or mozzarella work great also
Milk
onions
Seasonings:  Salt, pepper, cumin
Toppings:  Anything you have, but we like to use cabbage, jalapenos, cilantro, salsa and avocado

In a large pan caramelize the onions.  Add the beans and seasonings.  Use a potato masher to roughly mash the beans for a semi-re-fried bean texture. Add milk to beans to thin them out.  In a baking pan, put a thin layer of beans on the bottom.  Place a tortilla on top of beans.  Put beans on half the tortilla and then some cheese and fold in half.  Top with beans to keep folded.  Repeat until pan is full and top with remaining beans and more cheese.  After baking cover with toppings and enjoy.

Chilequiles:
Homemade or store bought corn tortilla chips (we like to bake the tortillas in the oven with some olive oil to make it less greasy)
Homemade salsa:  We usually make it in the food processor just for this with canned or fresh tomatoes, onions, serranos, a habanero and cilantro
Cheese:  Queso fresco, mozzarella or any cheese

After making the salsa, heat it in a large pan.  Put chips into the salsa until they are soft but not soggy.  Top with cheese and enjoy.




Elaine

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #28 on: May 13, 2014, 07:50:34 AM »
Fun thread! I'm Lebanese and Italian, so basically I grew up in a peasant food paradise.

Fattoush- This is basically Lebanese chopped salad, known to some as peasant's salad, and we ate it a lot growing up. The vegetables can vary greatly and usually there is a big variety, the idea is taking the last nubs of whatever vegetables are around and combining them. The dressing makes it, usually you use sumac, molasses, lemon juice, parsley, and garlic.

Hummus- Of course classic and so cheap to make. Chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, I also like to roast some peppers and add them in.

Labneh- Cheap Lebanese cheese that you make from yogurt. Usually served with oil, spices, and pita.

Falafel- Again, cheap ingredients- chickpeas, etc. You can add in vegetables as well.

Moudardara- This is a lentil rice dish, you can spice it however you want but it is traditionally served with onions. I don't love onions so I use smoked paprika, tumeric, and garlic.

Gnocchi or Gnudi- Gnocchi is easy to make, and with potatoes as the first ingredient it's super cheap. Gnudi is quicker but a bit more expensive, instead of potato you are using ricotta.

Polenta- Classic and so easy. You can fry it, bake it, make it into a loaf (with mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes, mmm)! I like to eat it with pesto or marinara.

Poor Soup- I don't know if this is a formal Italian dish, but it's something we ate a lot. It's essentially Ministrone with farro and zucchini in it.

Tomato Bread soup- need i say more? Load it with garlic and fresh basil.

Also, pickles. Not just cucumber pickles either, Lebanese people pickle EVERYTHING. And it's all amazing.
 
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 07:55:44 AM by Elaine »

Franklin

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #29 on: May 13, 2014, 08:21:30 AM »
This is a good topic to talk about this month because of the "Live Below the Line" Challenge which is currently in progress.  It's an international challenge to see if you could live on $1.50 of food each day (the poverty line) for five days. 

Here is the link:  https://www.facebook.com/LiveBelowtheLine

The community has a ton of recipes that are surprisingly good.

gillstone

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #30 on: May 13, 2014, 09:08:56 AM »
I've fallen in love with the bo ssam recipe from Momofuku.  Its a cheap cut of pork, goes with everything, and makes enough to feed a family of four for the better part of a week

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/magazine/recipe-momofuku-bo-ssam.html?_r=0

Also the ginger scallion sauce is amazing and also goes with everything.

Lentils have been a great cheap protein for us too.  We can get locally raised organic lentils for the same price as store bought from our growers coop.

OldDogNewTrick

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #31 on: May 13, 2014, 09:49:46 AM »
I love peasant dishes. Smoked ham hock, cabbage, onion, rice, water will feed a crowd for pennies. Sausage is true peasant food, best used sparingly to give the dish body and flavor. Boiled tongue, sliced thin in a salad or diced for tacos. Beans, rice, greens, little bacon or sausage. Cajun cuisine is an excellent example of po' people food.... celery, bell pepper, onion for aromatics, tomatoes/okra optional, little bit of meat/seafood, roux made from fat/flour cooked lovingly for a long time, thinned with water or stock, all this served over rice. Chinese peasant food....potatoes, not rice! Served with veggies and a little bit of meat. I've read many old novels depicting pioneer families from the 16th, 17th century subsisting on corn mush served with sorghum molasses and milk...game meat when lucky. My grandmother's dishes were very frugal for the most part. Boiled chicken and veggies with dumplings cooked on top the liquid. My elderly MIL who provided all the cooking for her father's farm when she was a teenager still to this day serves a huge bowl of mashed potatoes, AND handmade egg noodles along with a roast and lots of gravy. Dense calories were necessary when plowing the back 40! Souse and head cheese, not often seen anymore, arose from that same snout to tail philosophy that guided our more frutal ancestors.

It is a pity that today's peasants, (working poor), for the most part lost touch with that rich heritage/tradition of nutritionally dense, flavorful, super frugal cuisine. I think the 50's and their introduction of low value convenience foods did a lot of damage to our national eating habits.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 09:52:16 AM by OldDogNewTrick »

alibean

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #32 on: May 13, 2014, 03:11:25 PM »
Great post!  I really need to work on our grocery bill!

Here is a great recipe for white beans: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2010/12/new-orleans-style-white-beans.html    Even my 5 and 7 year old love it with smoky salt served with brown rice. 

Red beans and rice recipe also loved by the fam: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2014/02/vegan-red-beans-rice/

Easy recipe for refried beans: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/08/29/recipe-easy-slow-cooker-refried-beans/


Counting Down

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #33 on: May 13, 2014, 05:25:20 PM »
My peasant/cheap foods are

Pasta Sauce - pan fry with some oil lots of diced carrots, leeks and onion. When these are soft add in a couple of tins of tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes. Blend together and then add a small amount of butter and teaspoon of sugar. I usually portion and freeze. Serve with pasta, yum.

Shepherds Pie - fry lots of onions, diced carrots and peas. When soft remove from pan. Fry minced beef, when cooked add back veg. Cover in gravy (I use bisto). Again portioned and froze. Serve this with mash potatoes.

Coddle - this is an Irish recipe and we ate it a lot as kids. It's a base of potato soup which when cooked you add onion, carrots, sausages and bacon to. Then boil it up until everything is cooked. Serve it with more potato preferably mashed (us Irish love our potatoes :))

Nickyd£g

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #34 on: May 14, 2014, 04:51:30 AM »
My favourite is ham rib soup/stew:  boil a rack of ham ribs with stock, Scotch broth mix (a mix of lentils, beans & oats), shredded cabbage, diced turnip, potatoes, onion & carrot, for about 2 hours until everything is soft and the meat falls off the bone.  You can take the ribs out and boil the remaining vegetables until it's basically a chuky stew and serve with bread or blend the veggies with more stock and re-add the meat to make a hearty soup.  I rack of ribs & a pile of veg usually costa me around £6 but I can get 8 portions from that, so thats 75p per meal.

quilter

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #35 on: May 14, 2014, 05:53:09 AM »
More great ideas are the forks over. Knives website and book, and artisan bread in five minutes a day. The artisan website has some great looking of foccacias and pizzas using basic dough.

A quick favorite is lentil soup

Sauté a chopped onion, add a few cloves of minced garlic, four cups vegetable stock, some chopped carrots, a cup of lentils, a teaspoon of Rosemary and simmer. When lentils are tender add a cup of chopped spinach. You can add more or less veggies depending on what you have in the fridge.

Learning to make breads and tortillas can save a ton of money, way cheaper and you have control of what goes in them. Also,spend a little time learning to reconstitute dried beans. Huge money savers.   You will eliminate a lot of fat, sugar and chemicals too.

Great websites everyone who posted


kimmarg

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #36 on: May 14, 2014, 06:32:59 AM »
WTF is peasant food?

Traditional foods eaten by the lower classes. See: pea soup, polenta, trotters, chow kawy teow, etc. Often meatless, and usually made with very inexpensive ingredients. Frequently very tasty.

Also can change over time.  At one point in the US lobster used to be considered a workingman's food, because it was so plentiful and a bottomfeeder.  Now, it's more rare and considered a delicacy.

Actually last summer lobster dropped below lean ground beef for a while (95% lean 4.29/lb, lobster $3.99/lb) of course lobster includes the weight of the shell, etc.

Soup is my go-to. Leftover meat, veggies, throw in a grain, maybe a bean and wait. Turns out pretty well surprisingly often given how little consistency I do for ingredients.

aj_yooper

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #37 on: May 14, 2014, 07:06:30 AM »
My dad did his slum gum:  fry small amount of broken up ground meat along with diced onions, garlic, and carrots, season to taste.  Add water, a small pasta, tomato paste or sauce. 

Also:  layer sauerkraut in an iron skillet and place several pork chops or pork steaks (seasoned) over the kraut.  Bake. 

AMustachianMurse

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #38 on: May 14, 2014, 08:57:36 AM »
WTF is peasant food?

Traditional foods eaten by the lower classes. See: pea soup, polenta, trotters, chow kawy teow, etc. Often meatless, and usually made with very inexpensive ingredients. Frequently very tasty.

Also can change over time.  At one point in the US lobster used to be considered a workingman's food, because it was so plentiful and a bottomfeeder.  Now, it's more rare and considered a delicacy.

For purposes of this discussion, I would define peasant food as being inexpensive right now.

I don't want to wind up embittered at lobsters for their upward mobility, scowling at them in their tank as they waggle their antennae with an air of nonchalance. You think you're too good for me now, huh, lobster?!

If this forum had upvotes, you would get mine good sir.

jr1029

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #39 on: May 14, 2014, 01:01:11 PM »
I made amazing soup last night

sautee 1 onion, 3 cloves garlic, 2-3 carrots cut in coins, 1 chopped sweet potato, 1-2 T curry power, cumin, pepper
add 8 cups broth (made with Better Than Bouillon)
1 bag yellow split peas
cook ~45 min
Add half bunch chopped kale, 1 can coconut milk
Cook another 5-10 min

Makes ~ 7 servings of deliciousness

CommonCents

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #40 on: May 14, 2014, 02:06:33 PM »
WTF is peasant food?

Traditional foods eaten by the lower classes. See: pea soup, polenta, trotters, chow kawy teow, etc. Often meatless, and usually made with very inexpensive ingredients. Frequently very tasty.

Also can change over time.  At one point in the US lobster used to be considered a workingman's food, because it was so plentiful and a bottomfeeder.  Now, it's more rare and considered a delicacy.

Actually last summer lobster dropped below lean ground beef for a while (95% lean 4.29/lb, lobster $3.99/lb) of course lobster includes the weight of the shell, etc.

Yep, the price did drop, but it's still considered a delicacy and a staple on many fancy menus, where (non-ethnic restauarants aside) a lot of these other dishes are not.  Unfortunately, they predict supply will decrease this year and correspondingly, the price will rise.  Your comment actually drives home my point that "peasant food" isn't a stable list of item, but rather dependent upon what is cheaply available to you at your location at that point in time.  Someone in California will have a different idea of it than I do in New England, and similarly the US perspective differents from that of say, India.  It's similiar to the idea of buying in season (but incompasses more than veggies as that phrase suggests).

I think it also tends to involve the heavier use of spices (although not required).  The only concern is really in balancing the nutrition so you are not eating solely rice, bread, pasta or similar.

rosaz

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #41 on: May 14, 2014, 03:02:33 PM »
Red lentil hash:
Caramelize onions, season with seasoned salt, throw in some chopped up leftover baked potatoes. Let it get all nice and brown on the bottom. Add some cooked red lentils. Eat with a fried egg or two. That can keep me going all day.

Beans and greens:
Caramelize onions, season with seasoned salt and cumin. Add in some cooked beans - I like pinto. Get them fried and a little crispy. Add in some washed greens, stems removed (turnip and mustard greens work well). Let the greens wilt a bit. Maybe sprinkle with a little lemon juice if you have part of a lemon on hand.

Ayanka

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #42 on: May 14, 2014, 03:09:03 PM »
Suggestions I grew up on:

Carrot mash: cook carrots, add cooked potatoes, mash them. You can freeze it, but its best to thaw it in the fridge if you do. Not my favourite, but surely eatable.

Pasta: tomato sauce, whatever veggies need to desappear, ground beef...

"Cold plate": a mix of whatever was ready to pick in the garden with boiled eggs or hamrolls plus cold potatoes

the trick to let old bread desappear: or croque monsieurs (bread plus ham plus cheese, put between a grill) or cut it into little parts and add butter and herbs

Sonorous Epithet

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #43 on: May 14, 2014, 03:09:58 PM »
Red lentil hash:
Caramelize onions, season with seasoned salt, throw in some chopped up leftover baked potatoes. Let it get all nice and brown on the bottom. Add some cooked red lentils. Eat with a fried egg or two. That can keep me going all day.

Ermagahd, I need to make this like right now.

quilter

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #44 on: May 15, 2014, 07:33:46 AM »
Almost forgot my morning staple. Steel cut oats.  I read lots of military history and porridge was one of the peasant and battlefield staples. Of course, I have the luxury of cooking it in my fancy pants zojurishi rice cooker and adding raisins and cinnamon.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #45 on: May 15, 2014, 07:53:31 AM »
I made amazing soup last night

sautee 1 onion, 3 cloves garlic, 2-3 carrots cut in coins, 1 chopped sweet potato, 1-2 T curry power, cumin, pepper
add 8 cups broth (made with Better Than Bouillon)
1 bag yellow split peas
cook ~45 min
Add half bunch chopped kale, 1 can coconut milk
Cook another 5-10 min

Makes ~ 7 servings of deliciousness

this sounds reeeeallllly good. (and easy and cheap) thanks!

Sonorous Epithet

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #46 on: May 15, 2014, 09:50:36 AM »
Almost forgot my morning staple. Steel cut oats.  I read lots of military history and porridge was one of the peasant and battlefield staples. Of course, I have the luxury of cooking it in my fancy pants zojurishi rice cooker and adding raisins and cinnamon.

I never thought of oatmeal in the rice cooker. That sounds great! (Mine was maybe 12 bucks and is decidedly not fancypants, but it sure does cook rice!)

quilter

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #47 on: May 15, 2014, 11:56:01 AM »
Almost forgot my morning staple. Steel cut oats.  I read lots of military history and porridge was one of the peasant and battlefield staples. Of course, I have the luxury of cooking it in my fancy pants zojurishi rice cooker and adding raisins and cinnamon.

I never thought of oatmeal in the rice cooker. That sounds great! (Mine was maybe 12 bucks and is decidedly not fancypants, but it sure does cook rice!)

Mine actually has a porridge setting and instructions how to cook it. I also use the slow cooker a lot, but that was a cheapie. Baked potatoes that I can later load up with veggies or chili I do every week or so. Dried beans are super easy too. I like to boil the beans for a few minutes in water on the stove than turn the burner off and let this sit for a spell. I rinse well and throw in the crockpot  with more water, turn to low and within four or five hours a cheap pot full of beans. Much healthier and cheaper  than salted ones from the can.

sheepstache

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #48 on: May 15, 2014, 11:57:50 AM »
Collard greens, anyone?  Cheap in season.  Easy to grow yourself.

http://www.amateurgourmet.com/2010/03/collard_greens.html

I also like breast of lamb which tends to be quite cheap.
www.lindystoast.com/2007/03/stretching_a_bu.html

RootofGood

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Re: Share your peasant food secrets!
« Reply #49 on: May 15, 2014, 12:06:46 PM »
My family is full of meatatarians.  For meat, we mostly stick to pork loins, boston butts (pork shoulder), chicken breasts/legs/thighs/quarters.  Those can all be purchased for under $2/lb and often $0.50 to $1/lb for the bone in, skin on cuts.  These cuts are delicious roasted or broiled in the oven (depending on cut) or stewed in a pot or crockpot for shredded taco meat or nacho topping, or for shredded pork/chicken chili.  After you figure out how to make shredded pork or chicken at home, it seems silly to pay $10+ for shredded pork carnitas or a shredded chicken taco plate at a Mexican retaurant (when you know the 4-6 oz of meat would cost $0.50-$1 cooked at home). 

If I'm making taco filling or chili, I'll often toss in some veggies like potatoes, corn, beans, celery, carrots, or whatever I have on hand.