COLOMBIAN BEAN STEW (ChF, GF, GF, NF, V+)

At the start of 2016 I had made it one of my goals to post more recipes of the actual foods I eat on a day to day basis here on the blog. This meant more savoury dishes with whole grains and legumes as the star attraction. No sooner had I put that statement out there, did life firmly grab hold of it and make it become a reality. Or better, NETFLIGHTS did. They contacted me, asking me to prepare a dish that represented my heritage and this Colombian bean stew - which I veganised ;) - instantly came to mind as THE recipe I needed to make for them.

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You see, NETFLIGHTS have put together this sweet little on-line magazine called Taste Of My Country, celebrating foods from all over the world. And it's such an honour to be able to wave the Colombian flag on this occasion with a dish that is not only super easy to make and utterly delicious, but also extremely healthy, full of plant-based protein and fibre. Furthermore, to me this recipe shows that healthy plant-based food does not need to be complicated or expensive. I mean this stew is PACKED with cheap superfoods such as garlic, onions and black beans, all of which are easily available in most supermarkets and do not require any special kitchen tools to prepare. 

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Traditionally, this stew would be served as part of a larger meal often referred to as a ‘bandeja paisa’ – a platter which contains a hearty bean dish like this one or served with meat or chicken mixed in, (white) rice and some avocado slices. Colombians like their food on the spicy side, so chilli flakes or a spicy chilli sauce - aji - are usually added to the platter as well as a crisp side salad. 

Now I am not normally a massive fan of white rice BUT I wanted to keep this recipe and its presentation as traditional as possible, plus we had it for lunch after I took these shots and the compromise I made with my feisty 6-year-old was that he could have white rice (his favourite) if he ate a bowl of these beans. He asked for seconds of both the beans and the rice, so I felt it was a win-win situation all round :)

Enjoy the recipe and thanks for reading everyone.

P.S. NETFLIGHTS kindly paid me for making this recipe which means this is in effect a sponsored blog post ;) 

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COLOMBIAN BLACK BEAN STEW (ChF, GF, GF, NF, V+)

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: serves 3-4

Ingredients:
2 boxes (tetra pack) of black beans – box/pack of 380g each, 230g when drained
a dash of olive oil or rice bran oil for pan frying
100ml water
5 garlic cloves
1 can/400g of chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 vegetable stock cube (please use a gluten-free one if you want this recipe to be gluten-free)
2 small onions
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 heaped teaspoon of dried oregano
2 - 4 teaspoons of sugar
a pinch of ground black pepper

To garnish:
a small handful of fresh coriander or fresh parsley leaves
some fresh tomatoes (optional)
some chilli flakes (optional)
avocado to serve with (optional)
1 fried plantain to serve with (optional)
rice or quinoa to serve with (optional)

Instructions:
Drain the black beans and set aside.
Peel and chop the onions and garlic finely.
Over a medium heat, warm the oil in a large frying pan and sweat the onions until translucent - about 5 -10 minutes or so. Then add the garlic and pan fry everything for about 2 minutes. Next add the chopped tomatoes, stir and add the water.

Next add the beans and stir until nicely combined. At this point lower the heat to a simmer, add the vegetable cube and let it dissolve completely. Add the cumin, ground ginger, sugar and dried oregano. Let it simmer to intensify the flavours. Taste and see if it needs a tiny bit more sugar. Let it reduce a little more - this shouldn't take very long. When done, remove from the heat and sprinkle some ground black pepper on top and serve warm.


Tip1: If you prefer, you can keep 100ml of the water from the packed beans and use instead of the regular water.
Tip 2: You can also use dried beans for this recipe if you prefer. Just replace the packed soaked beans with 250g of dried beans. Soak at least overnight for a minimum of 12 hours, preferably 24 hours. You can also use canned beans instead of the boxed beans. 
Tip 3: You can use white or red onions, it doesn't really matter in terms of flavour. They should be small-ish though.
Tip 4: There is no need to add salt as the vegetable cube will suffice.
Tip 5: You can also make double the quantity if you're feeding hungry adults or freeze the surplus

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