Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Yam & White Bean Stew

Photographer:  Bev Abma
Ethiopian farmer grows navy bean plant

yam, leak, and white bean stew


large pot
large spoon
bowl with lid or cover


about 2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium to large yellow onion, chopped
1 leak, cleaned and chopped - more here on cleaning leaks
1 24 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 medium to large sized red garnet yam, cleaned and chopped
1 cup of dry white beans, navy or cannellini

water by canful

a bunch of greens, cleaned and chopped, and mixed or by themselves.  possibilities include: 

- collard greens
- spinach
- kale
- broccoli leaves
- cabbage
- dandelion greens

optional:  chopped peppers, fresh or frozen mixed varieties. 

seasonings, to taste, unless otherwise indicated

sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
garlic cloves (5-7 or less)
sprinkling of basil, rosemary, and thyme
curry powder to taste
a small dash of cinnamon (but no more than that)

2-3 bay leaves

Optional:  a dash of taragon, 2 cloves

Courtesy of Wikipedia
Photographer:  Heather Kennedy
Cannellini Beans


1.  sort and clean your navy beans in a collander.  place them in a bowl, cover with cold water, and let them soak for at least an hour, or overnight, covered.  consider that, the longer you soak your beans, the shorter your stew cooking time.  when ready to prepare your stew, drain your beans again in the collander and rinse with more cold water. 

2.  put your olive oil in the large pot, add chopped onions, leaks, and garlic cloves.  sprinkle some rosemary and thyme, a little salt and pepper.  sauté on a low heat until softened or slightly browning.  stir frequently, and so not to allow the ingredients to stick or the garlic to brown, in this case. (otherwise fried garlic is delicious, but that is not the objective here.) 

3.  add your tomatoes, basil, continuing to stir.

4.  add your navy beans, chopped yam, chopped greens, and 2-3 cans of water, depending on taste and how much you need to cover the ingredients.  add any optional additions, such as chopped peppers.

5.  stir some more, adding curry powder, cinnamon (careful - not too much), and your bay leaves.  include any additional, optional seasonings such as taragon and clove.

6.  add some more salt and black pepper, rosemary, thyme, and basil, still stirring.

7.  bring covered pot to a boil through a medium to medium high heat, stirring frequently.  then lower to a simmer for about an hour or longer, depending on when your beans are ready. 

enjoy!  serve over brown rice, garnished with grated cheese, chopped fresh parsley, and even a kalamata olive or two.  you can also include croutons or a nice bread, and a glass of red wine. 

set your table elegantly.

Red Garnet Yam sprouting

"As an experiment we're trying to grow a sweet potato. Bought a Red Garnet at our grocers. Cut it in half, laid it in a pie plate with some "muck", in a couple of weeks lovely sprouts appeared. Time passed and we carefully broke the sprouts from the sweet potato and planted them in our back raised bed. It appears to be flourishing."

additional thoughts

yam and white beans combine very well together.  sometimes people ask if they can used canned beans.  this dish is not appropriate with canned beans because the flavor of the beans blends into the stew as the beans cook.

dry beans are easy enough to prepare, though, and with a little planning, there is ultimately a fast food recipe, as this stew improves with time.  you can just refrigerate your leftovers in a sealed tuperware container for at least a few days.  then you have an easy microwave fast food dish during the week (as below).

more here on potatoes, blogged earlier.

Courtesy of Transition Vermont
Photographer:  Ben Falk
Brown rice growing in Vermont

fast food recipe

have some prepared brown rice in the refrigerator, too, along with your stew.

put some rice in a bowl, and spoon your refrigerated stew on top on the rice and stir.

place in a microwave for 2-4 minutes, depending on taste and size of serving.

et voilà !  fast food that is nutricious and delicious, served the same way as the lengthier recipe, and even better than when you first prepared it !

- o.s.r.

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