Part of my motivation for developing this blog is my daughters’ imminent departures from the family home, and the desire to provide them with easy access to the recipes they are familiar with. When I say ‘imminent’, I mean in 6 to 9 years, but that sort of time evaporates when you’re bringing up children, right? Well, this recipe is a good starter. It’s healthy, it’s cheap, and it’s quick. Don’t be fooled; although the list of ingredients is somewhat longer than I normally care for, there’s little more to this than simmering everything together. It’s also ripe for variations. I’ve used small cauliflower florets and diced courgette instead of the carrot, and I’m pretty sure that cooked, diced potato would work well, too.
It’s not a fancy dish; it’s a hearty, comforting, healthy weekday meal (suitable for students to stir up for a crowd – this serves about 6, but you can double up easily), and just happens to be a welcome change from rich, heavy fare that prevails at this time of year, so we had it yesterday for dinner. We like ours fairly mild, but you can use more chipotle chilli, if you want it hotter. A note about the dried mushroom powder: I take a handful of regular dried mushrooms, and grind them briefly in an electric coffee grinder that I reserve for spices. I then store the powder in an old spice/herb jar. They’re not essential to this dish, but they really do bring the dish together and make it heartier.
2 tsps canola oil or non-hydrogenated margarine
1 large carrot, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tins beans (black, red, pinto all work well), drained
1 cup green beans
1/2 large tin (14 fl. oz.) of plain chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cm cube of chipotle chili in adobo sauce (check for gluten), minced; or a dash of cayenne
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp chickpea miso (optional – for enriching the stew)
1/2 tsp salt (smokey if liked)
5 tbsp powdered dried mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander leaf)
2 – 4 tsps sugar (if required to counteract sharp tinned tomatoes)
Heat the canola oil or margarine in a large saucepan.
Fry the carrot and onion over medium high heat until the onion is translucent (~5-10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Add the chopped garlic, and cook for a minute or two.
Sprinkle the cumin over the cooking vegetables; stir and cook for a minute (spices will tend to absorb the oil, which is why I cook the onion and garlic first).
Add the remaining ingredients except for the sugar and cilantro; stir, and allow the flavors to meld over a medium heat for 20 minutes.
Add the cilantro, then taste, and adjust seasoning with sugar if needed to counteract the tomatoes’ acidity.
Serve with quinoa, rice, under mashed potato as a pie, with garlic bread, cold out of the fridge ….