On the days when I either don’t know what I want to cook, have no idea what is left or needs to be used in the vegetable drawer in the fridge, or have no desire to venture to the shop, I plan on cooking a bean soup or a stew like this one. It’s the perfect way to use up any fresh herbs that are on their last legs and also any vegetables you have on hand. Since I also had Brussels sprouts, I decided to roast them and serve them alongside the stew. At the last minute I stirred in some wilting arugula that was beyond a salad. I also sprinkled chopped olives on top to give it a lift. This recipe makes a big pot and has been a blessing to come home to on these chilly, early spring nights.
White bean vegetable stew
I like to cook the beans for this stew with lots of bay leaves and sage, and then use the cooking liquid as the base of the stew. Using a pressure cooker means that this dish can come together in under an hour (see note). You will need more time if you’re simmering the beans. In a pinch you could use 4 cups canned white beans, replace the bean cooking liquid with water and add the bay leaves to the stew as it cooks. Feel free to stir greens in at the end, spinach, kale. chard or arugula all work well.
For the beans:
2 cups dry cannellini or navy beans, soaked overnight in 8 cups filtered water
5 bay leaves
2 inch piece kombu
3 large sprigs fresh sage
For the stew:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion
½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
2 medium carrots, cut in medium dice
2 stalks celery, cut in medium dice
2 medium red potatoes, skin left on and cut in medium dice
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped Kalamata or black olives
Good grassy extra virgin olive oil
Roasted Brussels sprouts, optional, recipe below
Warm crusty bread, optional
Cook the beans:
Drain and rinse beans, place in a large pot and cover with 3 inches of filtered water. Add bay leaves, kombu and sage. Bring to a boil over high heat, skim off any foam that rises to the top, cover pot and lower heat. Simmer for 50 to 60 minutes or until beans are soft and creamy inside. Remove and compost bay leaves, kombu and sage. Drain beans, reserving cooking liquid.
Make the stew:
Warm olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add 1 teaspoon salt, garlic, thyme and oregano and continue cooking for another couple of minutes. Stir in carrots, celery and potatoes. Add 3 cups bean cooking liquid and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, lower heat and simmer 15 minutes or until vegetables are cooked.
Add the tomatoes and cooked beans, raise heat again and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes, or longer. Stir in balsamic vinegar and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve topped with olives, parsley, a drizzle of olive oil, a few roasted Brussels sprouts and crusty bread.
Note; if you are using a pressure cooker only fill water to the highest capacity mark (about 2/3 full). Bring up to full pressure, lower heat and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pressure to come down naturally and continue as above.
Roasted Brussels sprouts
This recipe is approximate amounts, as I prepped enough to fit comfortably on the tray.
Serves 4 as a side
About ¾ pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground back pepper
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Add Brussels sprouts, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss well, turn each sprout cut side down and roast for 25 minutes or until brown.
Remove from oven and serve warm or room temperature (with or without the stew!)
Print recipe here.