Is eating a chore?
The thought in question comes from an interesting conversation with my cousin.
She loves food; a good cheese, a nice salad, brownie corners…
But the process can be unpleasant.
(Plan it, prep it, make it, clean it)
By the time you eat it, you’re exhausted.
So, she makes a big pot of ‘slop’ at the beginning of the week (her word not mine). This descriptive mixture includes: ground chicken or turkey, sautéed greens and some kind of sauce. It’s a quick one pot solution. Just heat and serve.
And I totally get it.
On the days leading up to Christmas, I ate this stew. Bowls of it. I was too preoccupied with holiday festivities to plan meals, let alone remember dinner. I needed something simple. Something satisfying. A bowl of goodness to sustain my energy levels.
Sadly, no one in this house was remotely interested in my ‘slop.’ Beans and cream? Death sentence.
It was MINE… all mine.
I soaked beautiful heirloom beans overnight in filtered water.
In the morning, I sautéed aromatics with fennel until golden. To that, I added Jasmine rice. Rice acts as a natural thickener when pureed and is a handy gluten free alternative to flour. Plus, I was going after the whole rice and beans thing. The texture is a blend chunky and smooth, finished with fresh parsley and a dollop of coconut cream.
Have you tried tomato with coconut?
The combination is divine. Here, the flavor reminds me of a subtle, island-kissed minestrone. It’s not overpowering in the least bit.
Neither is dill.
Strong. Punchy. Verdant. Dill.
I had a bunch leftover from another recipe, and instead of putting it directly in the stew, I garnished each bowl with a couple of sprigs. Just to taste.
Altogether, it makes a lovely combination.
Naturally, the definition of chore varies from person to person.
And remembering to soak beans overnight might just push you over the edge (do it before bed!)
But, if we give a little to get a little we’ll be one step ahead, right?
And maybe less tired…
- Coconut milk vs. Coconut cream? What’s the difference? Coconut milk is thin in consistency and the base for most Asian-style curries. Coconut cream is thicker and often used in desserts. Both versions are unsweetened. There is also cream of coconut which is a sweetened version of coconut cream.
- If you can’t find dried heirloom beans, you’re not crazy. Any type of soup bean mix will work. Just make sure it’s unseasoned.
Remember to start this recipe the night before! Soak the beans in filtered water and make the soup in the morning.
- 1 c. dried heirloom beans*
- 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- 1/2 can tomato paste
- 1 small butternut squash, neck part only (peeled)
- small handful of Jasmine rice
- 3 c. water
- 1 can coconut cream
- salt + pepper
- coconut cream
- fresh dill
* If you can’t find heirloom beans, use an unseasoned soup bean mix. They usually contain about 12-15 varieties of beans.
- Soak the beans overnight in filtered water. Drain, rinse and set aside until ready to use.
- In a large pot, warm the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the onions, carrots, fennel and garlic. Saute until golden, about 15-20 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste and mix well to dissolve.
- Add the butternut squash, rice, beans and cover with water.
- Open the coconut cream. Reserve about 1/3 c. for garnish. If the can is cold, the cream will be solid; this is fine. Add the rest to the pot.
- Bring the stew to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the beans are tender. Cooking time will vary based of the type of beans you are using. If it gets too thick, add more water.
- Using a hand held blender, puree part of the stew. You’re looking for a chunky and smooth texture.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, portion the stew into bowls. Top with a dollop of the reserved coconut cream. Sprinkle with dill.