This month Eliot's Eats is hosting this month's edition of #FoodNFlix. Read her invitation: here. She asked us to watch O Brother, Where Art Thou?*
Believe it, or not, I have never watched this movie. Despite it being eighteen years old. Despite all of its accolades, including a soundtrack that was awarded 'Album of the Year'. And despite it being a retelling of one of my favorite books - The Odyssey - I have never seen it. So, I was happy to change that this month.
One evening, I popped in the DVD and all four of us sat down to watch it. Jake had actually seen it before; and both boys have read The Odyssey for school. So, I thought it would be fun and told them to watch out for any food inspiration. Ehhh...
On the Screen
While some will find this movie offbeat and entertaining, I didn't think there was anything remarkable or memorable about it. Surely it does - and will continue to - resonate with some audience members, but I'm not one of them.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? is loosely based on Homer's The Odyssey, with George Clooney as Ulysses, (Ulysses Everett McGill), an escaped Mississippi convict on a long journey home to his wife, Penny, played by Holly Hunter. He and fellow escapees played by John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson have run-ins with a blind soothsayer, a trio of sirens, and a Cyclops, played by John Goodman.
The movie offers everything from car chases and shootouts to musical numbers and some magical realism. And, despite its short run time, it still - to me - had a dragged-out feeling with minimal character development. I'm glad I finally saw it, but I don't need to watch it again.
On the PlateWhat should we make? I asked the boys, when we finished watching the movie.
"Frog legs!" said one. "You know...for when they thought Pete was turned into a frog, or toad, or whatever that was." Hmmm...I don't have any idea where to get frog legs. But I remembered this photo of Jake from his childhood and decided to share it today. Haha.
There was the pie-stealing scene, but I wasn't sure what kind of pie that was. They stole and cooked a chicken. The cyclops cons them into buying him Chicken Fricassee. And D spied red velvet cake sitting in front of Penny at the church gathering. No lack of food scenes really.
But, then, I did a search for foods from Mississippi, where the movie takes place, thinking that might lend to inspiration. I came across multiple references to pork and beans and I happened to have a four-pound pork jowl in my freezer from one of my favorite local pork purveyors. So, I decided to make my own version of pork and beans using pintos and pork jowl.
Pintos and Pork Jowl
Ingredients serves 6 to 8
- 1 lb dried beans (I used pinto beans)
- 1 apple, cored, peeled, and shredded
- 1 onion, peeled and finely diced
- 2 shallots, peeled and finely diced
- splash of olive oil
- 2 carrots, diced
- 3 to 4 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 C ketchup
- 3 to 4 T hot sauce, optional
- 3 to 4 pounds pork (I used pork jowl), trimmed of skin and most fat
- 2 C organic chicken broth
- 1/2 C organic dark brown sugar
- 1/3 C vinegar (I used apple cider)
- 2 C organic chicken broth
- 1 t smoked paprika
- 1 t ground cumin
- freshly ground salt, as needed
- freshly ground pepper, as needed
If you are using dried beans, start by soaking and cooking your beans. Click for a how-to: here. If you are using pre-cooked beans, I think I had about 2 to 3 cups.
In a large soup pot, sweat your onions and shallots in a splash of olive oil until they begin to turn translucent. Stir in the apples and add the beans.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, as needed. Shred the pork a bit as you're serving.
I served this in individual bowls with some sauteed kale on the side.
"I didn't see any kale in the movie," declared R. It's a stand-in for Southern collard greens, I explained.
"Then why does it have kimchi in it?" asked D.
Because I love collards and kimchi a la Chef Edward Lee! Just eat it!
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