Butter Bean Stew
- 6 tbsp - or - half a cup of Mild Intensity EVOO (Arbequina)
- 4 tbsp Sherry Vinegar
- 4 tbsp Medium Intensity Green EVOO (Koroneiki)
- 1 lb Giant Butter Beans (aka Lima Beans)
- 1 can (16oz) of peeled whole tomatoes
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 white onion, diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped roughly
- 1 large potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
- Fresh bunch of parsley, stems removed, leaves chopped finely (curly or flat-leaf parsley
- both work)
- Sea salt and pepper (to taste)
Our one-pot vegetarian dish is a super healthy winner, full of hearty vegetables and iron and fiber-rich pulses. We really enjoy one-pot dishes that can be made ahead of time and which develop flavor over two or three days kept in a sealed container for reheating later.
- In a large pan, place the dried butter beans to soak overnight (or at least 8 hours) - covered by about five or six-inches of cold water the night before cooking. In the morning, rinse the beans and discard the water they soaked in. Bring a new pan with cold water to a boil and add the beans, add a bay leaf and simmer. Cook until al dente - not quite yet soft but almost - drain and set to one side. This will take approximately one hour, more-or-less.
- Heat Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a deep casserole dish or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the onion and gently sweat for six minutes or until softened.
- Add garlic, oregano, paprika, bay leaves and stir for two minutes. Once the fragrance of the garlic wafts around the room add a generous splash of vinegar and let this cookoff gently for one minute.
- Add the tomatoes and an equal volume of water, add the carrots and bring to a bubbling boil and then turn down to a simmer. Add the almost-cooked butter beans and simmer gently for one hour or until the extra water you added has mostly evaporated and the stew has thickened up nicely.
- Add the potato to the pot and continue to simmer until they soften, about fifteen minutes. Add a little more water depending on your preference for consistency. There are no rules with stew, it can as soup-like or porridge-like as you prefer.
- Taste and season well with sea salt and pepper, Stir in chopped fresh parsley and drizzle with Medium Intensity Green Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a splash of the Sherry Reserva to elevate all the flavors of the dish. Serve piping hot. This is most satisfying served with a crusty piece of bread to dunk as you go and to mop up the last spots of sauce.
To soak or not to soak?
There are both canned and dried butter beans readily available. If this is a midweek supper you might want to use the beans in a cooked, canned version, in which case you can simply shorten cooking time and add them at the same time as the potato at the end of the recipe. This saves you having to remember to soak them the night before.
However, soaking beans beforehand is recommended and has several benefits
including improvements to overall texture and form of the cooked or stewed
bean. Interestingly, the science tells us that gas-causing compounds are reduced by pre-soaking beans as are the phytic acids they contain, which means we're far better able to absorb their nutrients and minerals including protein, iron, zinc and calcium.