Tuesday, May 27, 2014

creamy spinach and bean tacos.

I just started a book by Dan Barber titled The Third Plate.  Despite the fact that I have only read 10%, I can already tell that it's going to have me rethinking my eating habits, similarly to how the Omnivore's Dilemma changed everything I thought about food.  Dan Barber discusses in the opening of the book that the future of eating will require us moving away from meals centered around meat with a small serving of vegetables on the side to a meals centered around vegetables with a small accompaniment of meat to enhance the vegetables.  

After reading that and thinking about it I realized Tyler and I already eat like that. 

When I cook, especially during prime farmers market growing season (which is what we are in right now!), I center our meals around what I find at the market and then look for unusual ways to incorporate those ingredients into out meals.  You could look at a diet centered around vegetables and immediately think we only eat salads, but we don't.  We eat pasta tossed with spinach, asparagus, and ricotta,  peppers stuffed with corn risotto, and tacos, lots of vegetable filled tacos.  I love vegetable filled tacos because everything tastes better when wrapped in a (homemade) tortilla.   

This taco recipe is one that I rely on a lot and I've made it so many different ways I've lost count but this way is my favorite.  Creamy pinto beans, sauteed spinach, and the tiniest amount of sausage marry together to produce a most satisfying filling.  Especially when paired with creamy avocado and a couple of shakes of chipotle hot sauce.   

Creamy Spinach and Bean Tacos  

This recipe is so adaptable that it kills me.  Sometimes I do spinach, other times swiss chard or kale.  I've made it with black beans as well as pinto beans (though I do prefer pinto beans!).  The sausage is optional but it adds a whole other dimension of flavor that I can't get enough of especially if I have some of the really good sausage from Dickson's Farmstand.  I have made it many times without any meat and encourage you to try it meatless as well.   

The tortillas in these photos are homemade and while they may be ugly they sure beat what you can buy in the store.  

Makes 8 tacos 

1 link chorizo, pork and garlic, or other variety of sausage, casing removed (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil (only needed if you have sausage that doesn't give off enough fat)
1 large bunch of spinach (about 6 cups), washed and roughly chopped
1 cup pinto beans or black beans (up beans to 1 1/2 cups if you omit the sausage)
1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 teaspoon regular paprika
1/4 cup beer (I used a mango ginger beer and it was awesome!)
1 teaspoon hot sauce, plus more to taste (I love chipotle hot sauce)
Salt and pepper to taste

8 tortillas
Accompaniments: Sour cream, avocado, cheddar, chopped cilantro, or anything else you like

In a large skillet over medium-heat, add the sausage and break up the sausage with the a wooden spoon. Cook for about 4-5 minutes until the sausage is no longer pink and is cooked through.  When the sausage is cooked through you should have about a tablespoon of oil in the pan.  If you have more then that, spoon some off, if you have less, add some olive oil.  

Add the spinach to the pan along with the beans and stir to combine with the sausage.  Cooke for about a minute or until the spinach begins to wilt.  Add the smoked paprika, regular paprika, and beer to the pan.  Cook for another minute or until the beer cooks down and evaporates.  Add the hot sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Serve in warm tortillas with the toppings of your choice.  

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