What could be in the can?
I started doing Food Bank cooking demonstrations a few months ago. Part of our goal in doing so is to show people how to use the items they are getting at the Food Bank to make healthful meals for themselves and their families. For the first cooking demo, the Food Bank had lots of onions, frozen carrots, pinto beans and canned salmon. Though onions are used by most everyone, the rest of the items are not often found in the meals of the clients this food bank serves. So how were we going to combine all of these items to make something both scrumptious and nutritious that people would be likely to make at home? In addition to this challenge, the majority of the clients did not speak English; we were going to have to communicate with more than just words.
I did a quick search on the internet and came up with Salmon Chili. I told my chef and she balked at the suggestion. Why would anyone like chili made with canned salmon? She was convinced once I showed her the list of foods we had available to us. I also let her demo salmon patties- something a bit more familiar. Sure, it was a long shot as none of us had ever had the recipe before, but when you get the majority (or all) of your food from a Food Bank, you have to use what you receive or chose – often there isn’t as much choice. You also have to be creative and try new things if you don’t want to be eating the same thing day in and day out. In order to communicate with clients, we went slowly, held up each item we used and made illustrative gestures to show what we were doing. To our surprise, the salmon chili was delicious and we quickly ran out of samples at the demo. Those who could speak English with us were wholly impressed by what we had made and how easy it was. Everyone that wanted one got a recipe. As clients left, many stopped by to show that they had picked up the canned salmon and other ingredients- success.
Here are the recipes we used in the demo:
Yield: 6 servings
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
2 medium carrots (about 1 cup frozen carrots)
1 large bell pepper
1 can (14.75 oz) salmon
1 Tbs. canola oil
1 can (15.5 oz.) pinto beans
2 cans (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 cup water
1 Tbs. cumin
3 Tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1. Remove skin and bones from salmon (if any); break into chunks.
2. Peel and rinse onion, garlic and carrots.
3. Rinse and remove core and seeds from bell pepper.
4. Dice onion, carrots and bell pepper. Mince garlic
5. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pot.
6. Add carrots, pepper and onion to the pot and sauté until onions are soft and carrots are somewhat tender, about 5 minutes.
7. Drain and rinse beans.
8. Add the salmon, beans, tomatoes, water, cumin and chili powder to the vegetables in a large pot.
9. Cook over medium heat until all the flavors have blended together, about 15 minutes
Top with green onions, cheese, sour cream or avocado.
Serve with cornbread, corn tortillas, rice or noodles.
Yield: 6 servings
14-1/2 oz can pink salmon, drained
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup bread crumbs or 1/2 slice bread torn into small pieces
1/3 cup frozen or canned corn, drained
2-3 green onions, thinly sliced (2-3 tablespoons)
3 cups cornflakes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1. Place the salmon in a bowl and break up the chunks
2. Add the mayonnaise and mix thoroughly
3. Stir in the breadcrumbs, corn, and green onions
4. Put the crushed cornflakes in a second bowl and season with cayenne and garlic powder
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
6. Divide the salmon mixture into six to twelve portions, and shape into patties
7. Put each patty into the cornflake mixture, press the cornflakes into the patty, then transfer to a greased or parchment covered baking sheet.
8. Bake at for 10-15 minutes, until crispy and delicious.