Tuesday, October 13, 2009

VeganMoFo: First Stew of the Season

The weather is chilly, the days are short, and it's definitely stew time. We've got a farmer's market going til Thanksgiving here, and I'm way too excited for fall veggies. I was able to find some fresh cranberry beans, which are gorgeous:

There's something therapeutic about shelling beans. It's this good ol' hands-on feeling, like I need me a porch, a rocking chair, and some lemonade. That I do.
These, along with the rest of my haul, were destined to become the first stew of the season:

The First Stew

1 Medium yellow onion
2 large garlic cloves
6 carrots
2 bell peppers
2 cups cranberry beans, shelled
1 zucchini
1 tiny jalapeño pepper
2 cups vegetable stock
Shredded fresh basil ( a good fistful)
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 cup reserved cooking liquid from beans
Olive oil for cooking the vegetables
Fresh parsley for garnish

Fill a large stock pot with warm water, and set on high heat to boil. Once it boils, add the 2 cups of shelled cranberry beans- do not add salt! It makes the beans take longer to cook / toughens them. Turn the heat to medium, where you should reach a rolling boil, and let boil for 45 minutes or so. Taste the beans for texture at around 40 minutes, and keep testing. You want them to be soft and creamy- and that can take up to an hour. It's worth the wait. Tough beans, while an awesome comeback, are not very tasty.
Chop the onion, and put your garlic through a garlic press. If you don't have a garlic press, you should get one (but we'll let you chop it this time.) Like a friend of mine said: "it will change your life." It has. It intensifies the garlic flavor, interestingly enough, which is perfect for this application.
Chop your carrots and bell peppers into roughly the same sized pieces- set aside.
Slice your zucchini into rounds, dice your jalapeño and set aside
In a large deep pot, cover the bottom with olive oil, turn to medium heat, and add your onions and garlic.
Once the onions have softened, add the bell pepper and carrots, and let cook until slightly softened, around 7 minutes.
Add the 2 cups veggie stock, marjoram, and salt & pepper to taste. Let the carrots & peppers get tender, about another 5-7 minutes.
Add the cooked beans, zucchini rounds, diced jalapeño, and fresh basil. If the mixture seems on the dry side, add the reserved bean cooking liquid here.
Taste for seasoning and adjust salt/pepper if necessary.
The zucchini takes very little time to cook, and the beans are already done, you want to heat everything through and incorporate the flavors.
Garnish with fresh parsley, the underdog of the herb world, under-rated and delicious.

Cozy up with a big ol' slice of toasted crusty bread and dig in!

Sure it's simple, it's warm, delicious, and it's just what the weather called for. Plus, you can make this recipe even quicker if you use canned cannellini beans, what's not to love?


Jeni Treehugger said...

Cranberry beans are so pretty - I've never had them before, never even seen them in the shops or market! That stew loks delicioso, I'm gonna make stew this week.

Sal said...

that looks like proper comfort food. yum.

Jenn/CinnamonQuill said...

What a gorgeous stew! Definitely making this. And wonderful photos, as well!

teri123 said...

Please pack up that woman you work for and ship her to Timbuktu. Printing a photo of your stew and licking it is more delicouse than her recipes. Oh and what are you using for veggie stock? we use 'Vegetarian better than Bullion" alot but it can be overpowering and also i must have the pumpkin rissotto recipe at once. LOVE YOU! Teri

Frisco divorce attorney said...

What a nice hearty soup! Cheers, I'm saving the recipe.