Friday, February 26, 2010

Chipotle Sausage with Pinto Beans

The sausages I used in today's dish are not to my knowledge AWA approved or Niman Ranch products.

I bought them at the Whole Foods meat counter but I did not ask where the meat was from and if it had been raised humanely.

Despite that I've been suggesting the above practices are the way to ensure that the meat you're eating is traditionally-farmed versus factory-farmed, it is a challenge to find high-welfare meat items.

I read on the AWA's website that since much of the meat on display at Whole Foods is not marked with the Animal Welfare Approved stamp, consumers are advised to specifically ask for product from AWA-certified farms or farmer groups.

Now that seems easy.

So I'm going to incorporate this question into my grocery shopping meat-counter vocabulary: "Can you tell me which meat and poultry items are from AWA-certified farms or farmer groups?"

I'll let you know how I get on.

The choice some people make as a way to bypass the above issues is to become vegetarian, but that's not a choice I'm contemplating.

It is the choice Righteous Porkchop author, Nicolette Hahn Niman made.

However, rather than tout the benefits of becoming a vegetarian in her writing and activism, Nicolette has made it her mission to educate animal-protein consumers (which is the majority) on the meat industry, offering solutions along lines of how to avoid food produced on factory farms.

It's a great article, I urge to follow the link and read Nicolette's solution-oriented suggestions.

And then if you're still keen to put the ingredients in the above picture together to make my version of spicy sausages and beans, here's my method:

Chipotle Sausage with Pinto Beans
1) Soak a cup of pinto beans overnight, strain of soaking water and then gently boil for about 2 hours.
2) Cut up a couple of chipotle beef, pork or turkey sausages (sausages that you feel have been made with meat that has been farmed with integrity).
3) Peel and chop an onion and a clove of garlic.
4) Toss onion and garlic and sausage into a casserole pot with some oil and gently saute over med heat.
5) If you'd like your dish extra spicy, add-to-taste your favorite chili powder and stir into ingredients.
6) Now add cooked pinto beans and a teaspoon of cumin or caraway or dill seeds.
7) If you have any chicken or vegetable stock, add about half a cup to the pot and gently cook casserole on low for about 45 mins.

To Serve: Stir your favorite salsa into the casserole. A smoked peach or tomato and garlic or a combination of both would be yummy. Squeeze the juice from half a lime over the lot and stir through about a cup of chopped, fresh cilantro.

A bowl on its own suffices, or you could serve the beans and sausage over buttered rice, quinoa, millet or even buttery, mashed potatoes.

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