Pinto Bean Stew

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I can honestly say that this is one of the best recipes I have ever invented. This morning I was longing for lunchtime, just because I had leftovers of this stew. It is so flavourful, plus a healthy vegan meal. Filling, healthy and satisfying – the perfect combination for me.

The sweet potatoes give a hint of sweetness, and the Morita chilies add a little smokiness. If you’re not a fan of a lot of spice, no worries, the Morita chilies aren’t very hot, and you can always add a little less jalapeño pepper. When serving you can also add some of your favourite hot sauce to spice things up a little; this is a great option, since everyone has a different tolerance of spice. One person’s ‘warm’ is another person’s ‘deadly.’

I had a taste of the stew after cooking it yesterday when I made it. The flavours seemed even better today, so I would imagine this would freeze well. I think I won’t have any leftovers, so I won’t be able to test that. Please comment if you freeze it and let us know how it was after thawing. I’d also love to hear if people make substitutions; this is one of those recipes that could be great with so made different ingredients.

The garnishes really add to it, but aren’t necessary – a tiny bit of salty Cotija cheese, some chopped cilantro, and the crunch of the toasted pepitas.

What you need:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups dry pinto beans, soaked the night before
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 dried Morita chilies (a smoked red jalapeño)
  • olive oil
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • a few mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 1 small can cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro (stems go in the stew)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnishes: crumbled Cotija cheese, toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), cilantro

What you do:

  1. Soak the beans in a large pot of water the night before you are going to make the stew.
  2. Drain the beans, then cover them with fresh water. Add the whole carrot, celery stalk, 1/4 of the onion, the bay leaves, and the chilies. All of these vegetables are for flavouring the stew and will be removed before serving. Bring the contents of the pot to a simmer.
  3. While the beans are simmering, heat a frying pan to medium and add a little olive oil. Add the mushrooms and fry until cooked, then add them to the pot. Dice the rest of the onions and brown them lightly, then add them to the pot.
  4. Add the minced jalapeño (or half if you you’re spiciness scares you), the diced zucchini, sweet potato, and canned cherry tomatoes to the pot. Chop the cilantro stems and add them to the pot, along with the bouillon cube.
  5. Simmer the stew for 1 & 1/2 hours, stirring now and then, until the beans are soft and the stew has thickened.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with crumbled Cotija cheese, toasted pepitas and cilantro.

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