Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Sunday Dinner: Black Bean Stew and Mango Salsa

One of the things about the new house is that we all end up cooking for each other. Usually one of us comes home early and we just happen to have a pot on the stove bubbling away, but on Sundays we have a proper communal dinner, and sunday was my first time cooking for it.

New kitchen, new oven, a lot to take on board, so I decided on an old favourite of mine from World Food Cafe which is one of the best vegetarian cook books I've ever met - if I had to recommend a vegetarian cookbook I would give you this one, hands down! I served this up with rice and a salad of fresh leaves, and Middle B provided cake and custard for afters. The boys were pretty surprised at the textures and flavours and said they loved it - they had pretty hefty second helpings to prove it! A success I say!

Black Bean Stew
serves 4 - 6

1/3 cup black beans (if using dry then soak them the night before)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lrg red onion
4 garlic cloves, crushed (I used frozen and it did just as well)
3 fresh red chillies
2 tbsp butter
1 lb sweet potatoes (roughly 1 and a half large ones, or 3 small ones)
8 oz turnips (I couldn't find any so I used parsnip, not quite the same but you know....)
2 carrots, peeled and cubed
1 red pepper, seeded, deribbed and cubed
2 tomatoes, finely diced (I used several cherry tomatoes)
1/2 cup of vegetable stock (I used Marmite because I love it)
2 handfuls of fresh coriander
handful of parsley
2 bay leaves (we have a bay plant across the road!)
salt and pepper to taste

- Drain the black beans, place in a sauce pan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the beans are tender.
- Heat olive oil and fry the onions, garlic and chillies until soft. Remove 1/3 of the black beans and their cooking water and add to the onion mix and mash with a masher til the beans start to break down. Return the mix to the black beans.
- Melt the butter in a large sauce pan on medium heat and fry sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots and pepper until they start to soften. Add the tomatoes and fry until they break down. Add this to the black beans and add in the stock, coriander, parsley and bay leaves. Simmer until the vegetables are soft and the flavours are combined.

Mango Salsa
serves 4 - 6

1 large mango, diced
2 green chillies, chopped
2 small carrots, peeled and diced
2 sticks of celery, diced
1 orange, peeled and diced
juice of  1 lime
handful of coriander leaves, chopped

- Chop and mix all of the above. This has quite a kick, so if you like you can omit one of the chillies.

I served up rice with this because I was feeding two hungry guys in all of this, though you certainly don't need it. I made enough for lunch the next day and it was pretty lovely cold too. One of the lads said that it was a really great meal, he doesn't usually like mango or celery but I sneaked both of them past him... cheeky! He also said that he felt really good for it the next day - it was proper healthy food that digests well unlike some heavy meat dishes. I wouldn't know about that, all I know is that it is tasty, unusual and pretty easy to cook. I'm in everyones culinary good books for the moment, hurrah.

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