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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Rustic Vegetable Stew with Tuscan Kale and White Beans

This is something we have been making a lot lately. (And by "we," I really mean Scott, who is the master chef in our household. I am just the assistant.) It's the perfect hardy, comforting warm-up that you need after being out in the cold. And it's good for you!

Prep Time: 30 minutes (plus soaking beans overnight)
Total Cooking Time:
1 hour 30 minutes
1 large bunch Tuscan (“Dinosaur”) kale
3 - 4 large carrots
1 package (approx. 20) Cremini mushrooms
1 ¼ cup dried white beans (Cannellini is best, but we are using Great Northern in this example)
3 - 4 cloves garlic
1 large onion, red or white (or 2 small onions)
2 tablespoons cooking oil
64 oz. cups low sodium vegetable stock (we used this kind)
2 tablespoon Hungarian Paprika**
¾ tablespoon Chili Powder
1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
This recipe is: Vegan, Gluten-Free
*we recommend buying organic ingredients whenever possible.
**we also recommend buying spices in bulk from a co-op. In most cases it is cheaper, and the difference in flavor is night-and-day. This is especially true of the Paprika.
1.   The Night Before:  Place beans in a container with enough room for them to triple in size. Add water to the top of container,  cover and let soak at room temperature overnight.

This is how the beans look after a night of soaking.

 2.   Add cooking oil (we recommend olive or canola) to large pot, with burner set to low. You want enough oil to thoroughly coat the bottom of the pot.

3.  Roughly dice the onions and add to the pot with oil. Lower heat by a couple notches.

3.   While the onions saute, peel and dice the garlic cloves. Scott likes to smash the cloves with the side of his knife before he chops them.
*Nutritional Tip: According to Jo Robinson, letting the garlic rest for 10 minutes after chopping releases their maximum health benefits.
4. While garlic rests, remove stems from mushrooms and roughly dice.
*Cook's Tip: keep mushroom stems in a bag in the freezer- they make a wonderful soup stock. Recipe for that coming soon!

5.   Add mushrooms and garlic to the pot, stir ingredients together. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.

6.   While the pot simmers, chop carrots into ½” chunks.

7.   After 20 minutes of simmering, the mushrooms should be thoroughly cooked and the onions should be beginning to caramelize. Now it’s time to add the paprika, chili powder, and a pinch of salt. Stir well, and increase heat to medium.

8.   Add vegetable stock to pot, and scrape the bottom of the pot to mix any caramelized bits into the stew.
9.   Strain the soaked beans, add them to the pot. Also add the chopped carrots.

10. Bring the stew to a low simmer, cover with lid. Allow to simmer until the carrots and beans start to get mushy. This will take about an hour and 15 to 30 minutes.

 11.   While the stew is simmering, cut the kale leaves off the stems. Then cut the leaves into 2” sections. We have found this is easiest with scissors. 

12.   Once the carrots and beans are tender, stir in the kale leaves. Simmer just long enough for the kale to slightly soften (about 5 minutes).

13.  Remove from heat. Add additional salt, paprika and/ or chili powder to taste.

Bon Appétit!
Let me know if you try this recipe - I would love to hear your thoughts or suggestions. What yummy meal is keeping you warm this winter?

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