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The Edgy Veggie’s North African White Bean Stew

Guest post by Ellen Kanner, author of Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner. See the smart foodie’s interview with Ellen here.

I love to play in the kitchen but am painfully aware that many people do not feel the same way, so I often try to develop recipes that combine maximum flavor with minimal effort.

This usually means beans.

The way dried beans grab hold of whatever flavor they cook with never ceases to  be magical to me. This brand new-exclusive smart foodie recipe is adapted from a Moroccan dish I learned about from Paula Wolfert, culinary goddess and author of cookbooks including The Food of Morocco. I wish we could share it together.

North African White Bean Stew

Serves 6

Cooking dried beans from scratch requires overnight soaking but is cheaper than using canned beans and results in creamier beans. The simple flavors really ramp up when you make the dish ahead and enjoy the next day.

1 pound dried white beans, like cannellini

1 onion, finely chopped

2 teaspoons turmeric

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 teaspoon hot paprika

sea salt to taste

1 bunch kale, chard, spinach or other fresh green, sliced into skinny bite-sized ribbons (optional but a very easy way to get the goodness of greens)

2 whole fresh lemons, finely chopped, flesh and rind both, seeds discarded

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1-2 tablespoons olive oil (also optional, but provides excellent mouth feel and a sense of satiety, the all’s right with the world feeling)

Directions

1.Rinse and sort beans, discarding any weird stones or stems. Pour the dried beans into a large bowl. Add enough cold water to cover.

2. Soak the dried beans overnight. Rinse and drain again. Pour them into a large soup pot. Add just enough fresh water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in chopped onion. Reduce heat to low. Add turmeric, and the sweet and hot paprika.

3. Place lid on top so it’s just awry, allowing steam to escape. Let beans simmer for about an hour, or until they’re nice and tender and melty, but not mushy, still having their shape and essential beanness.

4. Season generously with sea salt. Add the optional chopped greens by the handful. Stir in gently. They will wilt in the heat of the beans and require no extra cooking. This is its own kind of magic.

5. Add chopped lemons, cilantro and parsley. Drizzle in some olive oil and serve.

Image courtesy of zole4 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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