Saturday, January 9, 2016

Winter Veggie Stew

Butternut squash and white beans predominate in this simple vegetable stew making it easy to spice up in several different directions.  One pot of stew can be your vegetable side for several different dinners or feed a tableful of hungry vegetarians on a cold night.

Serve Winter Veggie Stew with a variety of Indian chutneys and plain yogurt and some warm naan. Or during the last few minutes of cooking, go mediterranean by adding a little extra virgin olive oil, black olives and sun dried tomatoes (in oil).  Fresh rosemary or thyme for garnish and a fat slice of a baguette on the side.  You can even pack this thick stew into a flour tortilla with sliced avocado, fresh cilantro sprigs, lime juice and salsa. ¡Olé!

Winter Vegetarian Veggie Stew
Serves 4-6, recipe can be doubled

1 ½ cups (1/2 bag) white beans, soaked (or one can low sodium white beans)

5-6 cups water
2 cups celery
½ onion
3 carrots
2 T oil

1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon  turmeric
1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon oregano
2 medium potatoes (eastern or low starch)
1 small butternut squash (or ½ a large squash)
1 ½ cups green beans
1 medium zucchini
½ red bell pepper


  1. If using dry beans, soak 8 hours (over night or during work day). Drain beans and rinse.  If using canned beans, read directions below.
  2. Place beans in 5 cups water and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer.  Add tomato paste, turmeric, Hungarian sweet paprika, salt, pepper, and oregano.   Simmer beans, stirring occasionally for one hour.  
  3. Prepare vegetables: Chop celery, including leaves.  Chop onion and dice one carrot.  Sauté chopped vegetables in oil until limp.  Add to pot.
  4. Cut remaining two carrots, potato and butternut squash in large chunks.  Set aside.  Cut green beans in thirds (no longer than 2 inches). Set aside with other vegetables. 
  5. Prepare zucchini and red pepper.  Slice zucchini in large chunks.  Core and seed red bell pepper.  Cut into 1 inch pieces.  Sauté in skillet or place in a small baking dish tossed with some oil, salt and pepper and roast at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes until crisping. 
  6. Check beans.  Taste and if they are softening, add buternut squash, potates, carrots and green beans and enough water or vegetable broth to just cover all ingredients.  Continue to cook until vegetables are cooked and beans are very tender—about 15-20 minutes more. 
  7. Stir in cooked zucchini and red bell pepper.  
Serve alone in wide bowls or over rice, short pasta.

Directions for Canned Beans
If using canned beans you will add them at the end of the recipe.  Season the water following step 2 (omit beans) and add 3-1/2 cups water to your pot. Add all the vegeatbles to the pot except the zucchini and red bell pepper.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes while you prepare the zucchini and red pepper following step 5.  Once all the vegetables are tender add the canned beans and cook about five minutes more.  (Drain but do not rinse the canned beans.)

Elegant Life Leftovers: Add broth to make a soup.  This stew is vegetarian but you can replace some of the liquid with chicken broth if you'd like.