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)
(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
What do I do?
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.