Monday, January 31, 2011

Cranberry bean, pumpkin and sweet corn stew

This dish is one of the cornerstones of Chilean cuisine. When I saw this recipe, I thought, "Ok, another version of bean soup. Yawn." But I had some dried cranberry beans, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

Wow. It was really good. I mean really. The New World trifecta of beans, squash and corn developed together for a reason. And to continue the New World-ness, I topped it with some cilantro pesto I made. It makes me want to go to Chile.

A couple of things: you can use white beans instead of cranberry, and either sweet potatoes or butternut squash instead of the pumpkin. Cranberry beans are particularly toothsome, however.

olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 medium tomatoes, chopped (I used 5-6 canned whole tomatoes)
paprika, salt and pepper
4 cups cooked cranberry beans or white beans (soaked overnight, then pre-cooked in a Crockpot)
2 cups roasted and chopped sweet potatoes, pumpkin or butternut squash (I used two great big sweet potatoes)
Veggie (or chicken) broth
2 cups frozen corn

Saute the onion in the oil until soft, add garlic and tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes or so (until the tomatoes start to break down). Add the seasonings, beans and pumpkin/squash. Add enough broth to float the whole thing, and cook on medium for 15-20 minutes. The beans and squash are essentially already done, you just need to meld the flavors. Add the corn toward the end, cook for another 10 minutes or so. Garnish with fresh basil and cayenne, or cilantro pesto, like I did.

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