It’s funny how cooking can cheer me up. I was not in a good mood when I got home today. I got super stressed out about the essays I’ve got due next week (I’m not procrastinating – I’m cooking dinner. HUGE difference) and I didn’t have a good train trip and all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball with a large block of chocolate. Thankfully, I had chores to get me out of this funk.
I took in my washing, cleaned up the kitchen and started up on dinner, then my housemate made me coffee – so good! The little upticks of life just make the day that much better. It’s not about grand sweeping gestures but more about the small pieces of happy sprinkled around.
By the way:
So, about that stew. It’s tomatoey, beany, and all around delicious; this stew ticks all the boxes. Sometimes I’m jealous of all you meat-eaters out there. It’s true, sometimes I just crave the warmth that a big pot of beef bourginon emulates but seriously, try this and you won’t go back. Served with that bread I told you about yesterday, some shaved parmesan and a beautifully poached egg, I could not have asked for more tonight.
It’s almost spring but those August winds are picking up, so make this stew and share it with your friends and family. I promise you, they will be begging for more. I’m lucky to have leftovers. Hello, lunch tomorrow!
White Bean and Tomato Stew
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
I made quite a few adaptations to this recipe. I was cooking for seven so I upped some of the ingredients. I don’t like celery so I left that out, I accidentally used diced “Italian” (read: with extra herbs and capsicum, not a bad idea but not one I particularly wanted to invest in this time) instead of pureed tomatoes, I used silverbeet and spinach instead of kale, although I would have liked more greens and less tomato. I will most likely be making this again. I feel it will become a staple.
About 400g (or more) spinach (can swap out for silverbeet or kale or any other greens) stems removed, washed thoroughly (especially if you picked them from your own garden like I did!
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
approx 1 cup chopped carrots
2 medium-large onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
350ml dry white wine
3x400g cans white beans, drained and rinsed (I used cannelini beans)
2 cans pureed tomatoes
1 litre (more or less depending on desired consistency) vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
three or four thyme sprigs
fresh crusty bread, poached eggs and parmesan to serve (optional)
Half fill a medium pot with water, well salted. Bring to the boil and cook the greens 1 minute (no need to cook anything like baby spinach, but silverbeet or anything heavier) drain and squeeze excess water. Chop roughly and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions, garlic and carrot and simmer for about15 minutes. Pour in the wine and reduce by about half.
Add the beans, tomatoes, vegetable stock, salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
Take out the thyme and bay leaf, add the spinach and cook a further five minutes. (This is the point you would poach your eggs and toast your bread, if you wanted to serve it that way). Serve with crusty bread, poached eggs and parmesan, to friends and family.