This warming and nutritious stew is made with creamy butter beans and rich Mediterranean flavours. I used dried beans as I like using some of the cooking liquid but if you prefer you can use precooked canned beans and simply add them to the pan towards the end of cooking to prevent them from becoming too mushy.
Tips for cooking pulses
If using dried beans:
Soak overnight or for a minimum of twelve hours, prior to cooking. It is best to avoid adding salt when cooking beans as this prevents them from softening. Beans must be cooked until they are soft but still whole.
Remove any white froth which rises to the surface while cooking.
- 1/2 packet dried butter beans (around 250g or use a tin )
- 100g cooking chorizo, diced (If using the small ones you can cook them whole as I did.)
- 1 medium sized onion
- 1/2 large sweet potato (around 200g)
- 1 red pepper
- 1 large courgette (around 250 g)
- 1 large carrot (around 200 g)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp sweet or hot pimentón
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs thyme
- I litre of vegetable stock
- 3 tbspn olive oil
- salt and pepper.
- If using dried beans soak overnight or for a minimum of 12 hours. Dried beans swell as they rehydrate so make sure you use a large enough bowl with plenty of water.
- After soaking, rinse and sieve beans and place in a pan with sufficient water to cover them. Bring to the boil, then turn down heat to a moderate level and cook until they are soft.(around 45 minutes). Remove any white foam that rises to the top during cooking.
- While beans are cooking, wash, peel and dice the vegetables.
- Heat oil in a large pan and sauté the onion, pepper, carrot and sweet potato for several minutes until they start to soften. Add the sweet potato, garlic and chorizo and fry for another minute or so.
- Cover with the vegetable stock and add the herbs and spices.
- Cook over a moderate heat for about twenty minutes or so.
- Add the beans and some of the cooking liquid.
- Cook for another ten minutes or until the beans have softened and cooked completely. (Top up with more cooking liquid if required). Season.
Why are beans good for you?
Beans are a cheap and tasty form of protein and are a staple in areas characterised by frugal cooking, such as the Mediterranean where they were first introduced by Spanish explorers, returning from Peru in the fifteenth century. Including them in your diet two or more times a week is a good way of maintaining a healthy gut and protect against heart disease and cancer. Their high fibre content can help to maintain blood sugar levels steady after a meal and they provide a sense of satiety so are a good dieting aid.
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