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Bean Stew

June 7, 2011

Let the Bean Feast begin …

I originally got the basic idea for this recipe from my friend Kate, and then later added some extra refinements I saw Jamie Oliver use.

This is a great one to mix’n’match pretty well any kind of legume, dried or canned, that you’ve got to hand. Also a very handy one for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere who are entering the winter months.

I like to add a bit of texture and colour by using a handful or two each of various kinds of beans. Mix and match some borlotti beans, navy beans, red kidney beans (use tinned ones if you like), green lentils and red lentils (the red lentils will dissolve to mush, which makes the stew a bit thicker and more, well, stew-like, rather than a kind of lumpy soup), maybe some lima beans. The only ones I don’t usually use are chickpeas – mostly on account of my eldest hates them.

What do I need?

  • 1 large or 2 small onions
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • About 1-2 cups of beans
  • 1 tin of tomatoes or a couple of fresh tomatoes
  • Water – about 6 cups (1 ½ litres)
  • Stock
    (either substitute 1 cup of  water for stock, or throw in a tsp of stock powder – there are some very good vegetarian ones, too)
  • 1 potato
  • A few sprigs of some fresh herbs like rosemary, sage and thyme (yes, and we’ll have some parsley later)
  • A sprinkle of dried oregano
  • Pepper & salt to taste
  • A handful of fresh, chopped parsley


½ dozen or so spicy sausages, such as chorizo (my favourite), kransky or bratwurst

What do I do?

Fry the onions, garlic and celery

Either pre-soak the beans overnight, or use my “cheat-soaking” method: boil the beans rapidly for about 10 minutes, then drain them and cook them as per the recipe.
Gently fry the sliced onion and sliced garlic, and celery, for a few minutes until they’re softened.Throw the onions, garlic and celery in a big pot with the beans, water/stock, tomatoes, potato and herbs. Bring it to the boil, then reduce to simmer and leave it all to cook for an hour or so. Make sure you stir them every 5-10 minutes, to stop them sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.This recipe also does well in a slow cooker. Throw everything in as above, stir it all up, and leave it to cook. If you pre-soaked or cheat-soaked the beans, set it on low; if the beans are going straight in, dried, probably best to set it on high.When the beans are ready, roughly mash up the potato and break up the tomatoes, to add a bit more texture to the stew. If you used fresh tomato, scoop the skins out.

Slice up the sausages and fry them up in a little olive oil. When they’re nicely browned, throw them in the stew before you serve it. If you’ve got a vegetarian to contend with, leave out the sausages, or serve them separately so people can add them or not, as they like.

Also add the fresh parsley before you serve up the stew: when it hits the hot stew, it releases a fantastic aroma.

Add a big bowl of fresh, crusty bread for everyone to help themselves from, and refresh yourself with a dark ale, and you have the perfect Ye Olde Mediaeval winter warmer.

Goes down a treat on a Tasmanian winter’s night, let me tell you.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 7, 2011 1:04 am

    oh i LOVE beans! I made a bean and sausage stew last night with broad beans and chickpeas (with some other vegies and continental sauages) – was very yummy but my broad beans weren’t soft enough on the outside yet. think I’ll soak them first next time.

    Have you ever made Ful Medames? Now that is a very yum thing to make with broad beans!

    • June 7, 2011 1:36 am

      Did you try removing the skins on the broad beans? It’s a somewhat tedious process, but well worth it.

      My mother-in-law does a thing with broad beans, just served with olive oil, garlic and herbs.

      I’ll have to try the recipe you’ve linked.

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