Put It Away
EASIEST WAY TO FEED A CROWD
Today we are having a Spanish Wedding at our house. Others are bringing food, too. My husband killed 3 goats yesterday, that the women are going to cook today.
Believe me, every time I watch, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," I just laugh and laugh because it is so true to my own life. The ladies that are cooking the goat meat are from Mexico and so the meat will end up being too HOT for a lot of people.
So I am making Spanish Turkey, rice, and beans. Just to brag, but the Spanish ladies always assign me rice as they say no one else's is as good!
I had a turkey in the freezer. It was a big one, I guess about 25 pounds, but the tag was gone so I do not know for sure. I pulled it out, completely frozen, and used my kitchen scissors to cut off the netting and the plastic covering.
Then I set it in my Roaster Oven. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, the stores sell the large Roaster Ovens that have lids and you plug them in the wall. These are great, as you can cook in them and leave your oven free for baking.
I then added 20 cups of water. You want the water to come up a little more than 2/3 full in the oven. If you do not add enough water, it will just bake the turkey, but we actually want the turkey to cook in the liquid and absorb all the flavor.
I then added:
- 3 T diced dehydrated onion
- 1 T minced garlic (more or less to taste)
- 2 flavor packets of Sazón with Coriander and Annatto (Orange)
- 2 flavor packets of Sazón-It•Sazón Natural and Complete
- 2 T of Knorr Tomato Bouillon with Chicken Flavor*
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 jar (1 lb. 10 oz.) Ragu® Traditional
*The Knorr Tomato Bouillon usually can be found in the Spanish section of the grocery store. I didn't even know it existed until a Spanish lady was teaching me how to make tamales and this is what she used. Wow! This stuff is like the Sazon Goya...really good stuff! Makes the food taste like you have slaved for hours..,
I put all the stuff in the water, stirred it a little, put the lid on, and set the oven for 375 degrees.
In about 3-4 hours, I will go and take the stuff out of the center of the turkey. I can't do it now as it is frozen, but by then it will have cooked enough to do so. I don't use the giblets, etc. so I will take it out of the paper and put it in the chicken scrap bucket.
About 2-3 hours later, the turkey meat will be falling off the bones and it will be so tender and have such an incredible flavor, you will never want to eat regular turkey again!!
I plan to video tape myself making Spanish rice. Until I do, here is the recipe and instructions. This is a little tricky to make, but WOW! You can feed more mouths on less money!!
I buy my rice at Sam's in the 25 pound sacks. I use EXTRA LONG GRAIN and buy the cheapest brand.
Now through the years, I have developed a FORMULA to make rice perfect each time.
You always add twice as much water as rice. Thus, you add 2 cups of water for each cup of rice.
In addition: For each cub of rice add one Tablespoon of oil.
And for every 2 cups of rice: add 1 flavor packet and 1 t salt.
Okay, It seems complicated, but it is very simple.
Here is a recipe for a family of four:
2 cups of rice
2 Tablespoon of oil
1 flavor packet
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups of water
(1 Tablespoon of minced onion) optional, but I usually add...
Use a non-stick 2 inch deep frying pan with a vented glass lid .(You can use a rice cooker, just add the flavor and salt packet to the water and dissolve it beforehand, and stir the oil in the rice beforehand).
Put the rice, salt, flavor packet, and oil in the pan. Using a wood or bamboo spoon, stir the rice on medium high to toast the rice.
When the rice is toasted, it will be brown on the tips and have a more translucent look to it. Then add the water. Stir it a few times. Cover the rice with the lid.
FROM THIS POINT ON: DO NOT STIR THE RICE!
Let it come to a boil. Let it boil for about 5 minutes, then turn the stove down to medium low. Let it cook for about 10 minutes. Check the rice and see if it is soft yet.
DO NOT STIR THE RICE.
If the rice is still hard and too dry, add 2-3 T of water dropping it in a circle over the rice. Put the lid back on. Set the stove to low and let the rice steam 5-10 minutes until soft.
The Sazon with Azafran is yellow and makes beautiful yellow rice. Even children who normally do not eat rice at home, come to my house and like the yellow rice.
The other favorings make orange rice and are yummy, too.
Mix flavorings for variety.
Sazón with Coriander and Annatto (Orange)
- Sazón with Azafrán (Yellow)
- Sazón with Tomato and Coriander (Green)
- Sazón with Garlic and Onion
- Sazón Natural and Complete or
- 1 T of Knorr Tomato Bouillon with Chicken Flavor
Also, for a more natural taste. Cut onion, bell pepper, and tomatoes. Cook them in the pan with the oil first. Add the rice. Toast it, then add water and cook.
The Spanish also add jalapeños, corn, black beans, red beans, peas, or mixed vegetables to their rice. If I am going to add a can of something, I add it when I add the water. As the rice cooks, the stuff will float to the top, but do not be tempted to stir it. Just wait till it is done. then you can mix it up with a fork or spoon.
Today for the wedding, I will make 2 pans of rice, one orange and one yellow. I will triple the above recipe for each pan. Each pan will give enough rice for about 20 people.
I also, do not make rice each day. It keeps well in plastic bowls. Also, after it cools off, sometimes it is clumped together. Just take your fingers, or 2 forks and fluff it apart.
I usually make beans by scratch, but when I am in a hurry, this is what I do.
In a large stainless steel pot, cut up some bacon into little pieces. I am using about half a pound for the crowd. I use my kitchen scissors and yes, the bacon is frozen.
For a family of four use:
3 slices of bacon chopped up.
1 T of fresh chopped onion
4 cans of pinto beans (drain 2 of the cans)
salt and pepper to taste
Sauté the onion in the bacon. In other words, cook the onion until it is translucent and cooked. I also use plain old bacon grease, which I always save to use as a flavoring.
Once the onion is cooked and the bacon crisp. Add the cans of beans. For today's crowd, I am using 3 (6 pound cans) of pinto beans from Sam's Club. These are what we call #5 cans.
Stir the beans in and then use a potatoes masher to mash the beans. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For variation add:
- 1 small can (4 ounces) diced tomatoes with mild green chilies peppers
Or just some Tabasco sauce or jalapeños to make it hotter if you prefer.
Sometimes, I add one of the flavor packets to give it a kick, but to be honest, the onion, bacon, salt, and pepper are usually enough.
I will have enough food to feed more than 40 PEOPLE. It will take me 1 HOUR in food prep time and it will cost me about $39...SO about $1 per person!!
If you add chips and salsa and a salad, you increase your cost to about $1.50 per person.
Remember, I used to own a restaurant. The expense is not the food. It is the labor, rent, insurance, utilities, etc.