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Quick summer stew

February 19, 2011

This stew was a lifesaver when I had to be out of the house in an hour, but needed something healthy and substantial. After the first time I got sick I overindulged and I don’t think my body forgave me, but even after just one day of looking after myself, things have cleared up dramatically. This really was music to my tastebuds as well – just the very simple taste of fresh, in season, lightly seared veges and fresh roma tomatoes from the garden (you can use canned or bottled tomatoes though), made moresome with chilli beans and garlic. I’ve really begun to appreciate beans once I learned the secret to cooking them properly (without salt or any acid for the first hour!). Pretty much any beans can go into this as well, making it versatile to whatever canned or cooked beans you have in the pantry/fridge. To make this less stressful to make on my own, I served the stew atop wholemeal couscous, but you could use millet, pasta, rice or dunk in some crusty bread.

Simple and quick summer stew

makes as much as you like

  • a few handfuls of veges, cut into chunks (I used courgettes, halved button mushrooms, red peppers and a few french green beans)
  • enough cooking oil to lightly coat
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • about a can’s worth cooked beans (I used a can of chilli beans, or red kidney beans in nacho-ready sauce) – drain slightly if not using chilli beans
  • two handfuls chopped super-ripe roma or beefsteak tomatoes or a can’s worth chopped tomatoes (chopped in puree or even passata is fine) – do not use regular tomatoes*
  • optional: generous pinches of your favourite summer dried herb (I used basil)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: freshly shaved parmesan to serve

* These will be too watery. You could try cherry tomatoes but I feel it would be a waste of nature’s best candy.

In a medium large saucepan, heat oil on medium heat and add veges (not tomatoes or garlic yet). Let them brown a little before mixing, then let brown again. Stir in garlic. Let garlic cook a little until it smells slightly different (fragrant and almost roasted), then add beans along with a splash of water. While it comes to a simmer, chop tomatoes, then mix them in. Mix in herbs, salt and pepper. Let come to a simmer, and let simmer for a few minutes before tasting and checking to see if veges are cooked to your liking and if things are salty enough. If not keep cooking and adjust seasoning to your liking.

Serve with fluffed wholemeal couscous or millet, cooked pasta, rice or dunk in some crusty bread. Shave over parmesan (you can use a vege peeler for this) and serve.

PS. I made macarons! They should be the next post. They’re still not as perfect as the ones at J’aime les macarons and a tad too sweet for my liking, but I think I can just reduce the sugar in the buttercream next time. Anyway! Enjoy the rest of your weekend :)

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