It has been a wonderful winter day, cold frosty start, sunny, at last a blue sky and it ended with one of the famous West Cork sunsets – and so here it is, the first sunset photo of this blog. There will probably be many more, as I collect clouds (more on this one day).
And what better than a butternut squash and bean stew for a cold night dinner?
Some time ago, in Italy, I bought a bag of Tabaccara beans – I had never seen them before, let alone tasted them.
They are a light brown beige color, and have a subtle smokey taste. Since I can’t resist anything new that is edible, not processed and on the label says: “soak 12 hours and boil for at least one hour” (I think I should be given a laurea honoris causa by Slow Food…) I bought them, and carried the all the way to the south-western tip of Ireland.
I do tend to eat little meat, some fish and lots of beans, so usually when I cook them the shortcut I take is to cook a full bag and freeze some, they taste much better than the tinned ones and considering the amount of time it takes between the soaking and the cooking freezing is a very good solution.
I need to make a little digression now: I am not one for shortcuts or convenience when it comes to food and cooking, I do not have a microwave, I very rarely use processed food, unless I am kayaking or sailing, (and even then, I find it hard to swallow it….) and this is not a last fad – it’s what I have done over the last 25 years at least. I try to eat healthily, probably eat too much, I am an omnivore and I don’t follow trends – I am not a flexitarian… – I have seen this term a lot, is there something wrong with the word omnivore? – and I totally agree with Michael Pollan.
Oh, and I do not do exact quantities in my home cooking – only when baking and at work where consistency is needed.
Olive Oil (I only have EVO, so I wont’t write it every time)
Onion, 1 small, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
half butternut squash, diced small
1 small sweet potato, diced small
half a courgette, sliced
a dash of red wine (it was on the counter…)
about half a cup of Nourishing food Co. fermented ketchup (it’s made locally -and is really good)
2 teaspoons Smoked paprika
cooked beans (Tabaccara use there but Pinto, Borlotti or any you fancy will work)
1 roasted pepper
Sweat the onions for a few minutes, add all the diced vegetables, stir fry for 2 minutes, add the chopped garlic, 2 teaspoon of smoked paprika, a pinch of salt, half a glass of red wine. Let the wine evaporate and add the ketchup if using – of a couple of tablespoon of tomato puree, enough water to avoid everything sticking to the pot, stir and cook until the vegetables are done, to your taste. The courgette tends to cook faster and melt, which gives the stew a creamy texture.Add the sliced roasted pepper at the very end, cooking a few seconds to warm it up. I find that it rounds up the taste of this dish.
Some fresh parsley would go well on top, but I felt too lazy to put on my wellies and wade across the soaked garden – it has rained for Ireland in the past weeks, and the soil is like a sponge!