Andean Bean Stew with Winter Squash- Not Just for Vegetarians
It sure is the right time to add new stews to your menu. How about trying this out while watching the World Series this weekend. The weather is simply yucky – I have had the chills all week. I realize that I should not complain- because the two weeks before were so beautiful. This is a recipe I got from the New York Times a while ago. It is worth the many steps. It is affordable and if you are eating on a budget the ingredients are fairly cheap. I love it and had to share it.
- 1 pound dried pinto beans, rinsed and picked over, soaked in 2 quarts water overnight or for 6 hours
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
- 1 pound winter squash, such as butternut, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
- Freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or parsley
1. Place the beans with the soaking water in a large pot. You can add water if you need in order to cover the beans by about 2 inches. Then bring it all to a boil. Skim off foam, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 60 minutes, or until the beans are tender but intact. Add salt to taste.
2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy, large nonstick frying pan. Add your onion. Cook, stir, until the onion is tender, It takes about 5 minutes and then add the paprika, then the garlic. Stir in the tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir often until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly. It will smell very fragrant. When you remove from the heat scrape all the contents from the pan into the pot of beans.
3. Now bring the beans back to a simmer, add the bay leaf and winter squash. Simmer again, and again and simmer then cover for 30 minutes. The squash and beans should get super soft. My favorite part of it all - add the quinoa. Yes, simmer again for another 20 to 30 minutes. You want to make sure the quinoa become translucent. This sounds odd – but you will know it when you see it- it will look different. Add your salt and pepper to taste, a little parsley.
My Twist on the Dish- Cut the Extra Carbs Out
The original recipe says to serve it with corn-bread. Of course that tastes awesome. Better yet- put it in a bread bowl for a party. But a healthier option – is to keep this as a high protein meal and stuff the stew into sweet peppers. I have been buying the large bags all the grocery stores have been selling. This adds a great flavor to the mix. If you decided to make the stew a little HOT, the sweet peppers will off-set the spice. I actually take them and throw them on the grill just for flavor – then I stuff the stew in them. You can actually stuff the whole bag and freeze a bunch of these little peppers. Without stuffing peppers it makes enough for 6 to 8 people.
I agree with the original recipe’s suggestion – eat it the next day since it thickens up. In which case, you could stuff your peppers the next day too.