An Army Moves on its Stomach…

Napoleon is credited with saying “an army moves on it stomach.” There is absolutely no substitute for good chow as a moral builder. To help you be the King of the Hooch, I will be posting field expedient gourmet dinners from time to time. They are guaranteed to please the troops and the brass will give you a field promotion.

Today’s field expedient gourmet meal is “bistec empanizado” with black beans, white rice and yuca.

Yuca is a root and tough as nails. It’s available in frozen packs and already peeled. Get as many bags as you think you’ll need; assume 60% of the dinners will want seconds.

You’ll also need flank steak, nothing thicker than a quarter-inch. You may want to plan for seconds here too. A good size steak is about 5 inches long and 4 inches wide.

Next you’ll need your rice and black beans. Progreso makes a black bean soup which will work for this meal.

You’ll also need a good amount of fresh garlic, bacon, bread crumbs, white onion, lemon juice and a nice full-bodied (read heavy) olive oil.

Now let’s get started…

  • Boil the yuca. No salt is added and plan to boil it for 1 or more hours – test it for tenderness. When it is nice and soft, drain it and set it aside.
  • While the yuca boils you’ll want to pound your meat – no pun intended – so that it’s nice and tender. Dip the steaks in an egg batter and coat each steak in bread crumbs. You can use seasoned bread crumbs if you’d like but it is not necessary. Once the steaks are nicely coated, set them aside.
  • Next work on the black beans. Finely chop your onions. I would suggest a quarter onion or slightly less per can of black beans. Now chop your bacon – about half a strip per can of black beans. All chopping should be as fine as possible. Next, place the bacon and onion in a saute pan along with two or three cloves of garlic and a cup, or cup and one-half, of olive oil. Saute at medium heat until the onion and bacon are cooked. The bacon should be soft not crunchy. The onion should be a nice golden color. Once this is done, add the saute to the black beans soup and stir it in. You’ll want to cook the bean soup slowly so that 50% of the fluid is consumed. The final product should have the consistency of split peas soup or slightly heavier but not pasty. The bean will be very soft but distinctly shaped.
  • After the yuca is done and drained start your white rice. The grain should be soft but not sticky. You should be able to count each grain if necessary.
  • Depending on how much yuca you’re preparing you’ll want to use about a half-bottle or more of olive oil. In the final product, the olive oil will be visible on the plate much like a light wine sauce. You are going to heat the olive oil until it starts to smoke, then add a full head of garlic or maybe two – peeled and crushed. However, don’t let the garlic burn , it should have a nice golden tone. Once that happens pour the oil and garlic over the yuca. You’ll hear it searing the yuca. Next pour a half-cup of lemon juice over the yuca. You know you’re there when you smell a full-bodied aroma. It’s a very rich aroma.
  • Now you are ready for the steaks. Fry the steaks in olive oil until the outside in lightly crisp and deep golden color. Probably a minute on each side will get you there. Serve the steak with raw onion rings and a wedge of lime.
  • Your servings will consist of a steak as previously mentioned, black beans over white rice and yuca (nicely coated with the olive oil, garlic and lemon juice)
  • Serve with a cold beer and a sorbet for desert.

( These instruction assume that you have some background in the culinary arts)

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3 Responses to An Army Moves on its Stomach…

  1. Pingback: Field Gourmet – An Army Moves On Its Stomach « Soldier Systems

  2. strikehold says:

    Sounds yummy! :-)


  3. Preston says:

    Can’t wait to try it!


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