Friday, 9 May 2014

it's been stew...

This started off as experimental cooking, and has been refined over the past year or so.  It is usually seven bean stew, but this less preparation version is six bean stew instead, for reasons I will explain another day!  It began as ordinary straightforward bolognese sauce, leftovers had kidney beans and some mild chilli powder added to make a child-friendly not too spicy chilli, which then turned into vegetarian chilli, then morphed into bean stew.

Every time we have this someone always makes the bean stew joke :
mum, what's for tea?
Bean stew.
If it's been stew, what is it going to be today?

I know.  Hysterical, aren't they!?

 It doesn't need stacks of complicated ingredients, it's easy to make, you can keep the leftovers in the fridge and reheat them in the microwave, it taste great with rice or tortilla wraps or on a baked potato or just on its own, you can switch any beans out that you don't like, put more in of your favourites, make it spicier or less spicy according to your tastes - a win-win-win-win-win, don't you think?!

I usually soak dried beans for this recipe, which reduces the cost a little, but to be honest it is very economical anyway.  Using tinned beans does take out that 'soak the beans' step, so less forethought necessary - great if you are a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type cook as opposed to an-organised-meal planning-in-advance type...

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What do I need?

  • Tin of black eyed beans
  • Tin of kidney beans
  • Tin of butter beans
  • Tin of chickpeas
  • Tin of haricot beans
  • Two tins of chopped tomatoes
  • Tin of baked beans 
  • Tube / small tin of tomato paste
  • Two packs of soft tortillas
{I also added some pasta sauce left over from another meal}
(From my cupboard :: oregano, mild chilli powder, basil, smoked paprika, Henderson's relish)

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What do I do?

Open up your tins, and drain any liquid off (apart from the baked beans and chopped tomatoes).  If you can see sludge (for want of a more appealing word) then rinse the beans in a sieve over the sink.  The photo above is of the black  eyed beans, complete with sludge!

Tip the beans into a big saucepan - I use my stock pot as it's the biggest I have (not including my christmas gift maslin pan, which is strictly reserved for jam and chutney).

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Then add kidney beans, butter beans, chickpeas and haricot beans - as above, rinse off the beans before you put them in the saucepan.

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Next add the chopped tomatoes and baked beans, and turn on the hob - I use a medium heat at this stage, to get things going...

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...and then add the tomato paste (I added the pasta sauce that was left over after making the pizzas too) and stir it all up.

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Now for the herbs and spices - a tablespoon of oregano, another of basil, two teaspoons of smoked paprika, and a teaspoon of mild chilli powder (if there was no garlic in the tomato puree I would have added two teaspoons of garlic granules as well).  Throw in some Henderson's relish sauce too - a couple of tablespoons.  Mix the herbs and spices in, and leave uncovered, stirring every minute or so.

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Once the stew starts bubbling turn the heat down - if it helps, my hob goes up to 6, I start the stew off on 4, then reduce down to 2 at this point.  You want it to still be simmering very gently, and stir regularly to make sure the beans on the bottom don't burn.  It's best to keep simmering for at least fifteen minutes, but preferably longer - anything up to an hour is fine.  

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Dish the stew up, and eat with whatever you like - we had soft tortilla wraps, and it was lovely.  Any leftovers, store in the fridge (covered) for a few days, or freeze.  

Left in the fridge the flavours develop and make it even yummier - I have even cooked it on a Monday to eat on a Wednesday evening.

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{This is my entry into the Betta Living Vegetarian recipe competition - you can check the details out here!}

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