Adzuki Bean and Celery Stew
Before we get into today’s recipe, happy new year to everyone! 2010 was a though year for me (both in the professional and personal realms), full of challenges and times when important decisions had to be made. It was also the year I cooked more, having learned from my both succeeded and not-so-well succeeded experiments in the kitchen, and the year I have also started this blog. I’m not a person of making life-changing resolutions or, more precisely, I don’t usually make them this time of the year (although I reflect, as I suppose we all do, about what the previous year has brought to me and what – and how – were its best and worst moments). Anyway, as I’m typing this I’m reflecting about a couple of things I’d like to do more – in culinary terms – in 2011. They’re not resolutions, only desires and things I hope I can accomplish. Those are: I’d like to cook more from cookbooks, studying even more non-vegan recipes and trying to come up with vegan alternatives; to master the art of gluten-free baking; to share more meals with friends and family and to cook more meals alongside friends and family; to have a more mindful way of eating, incorporating as much healthy choices as I can into my diet.
On another front, this year I’d like to run more regularly, to fight the tentation to cut my hair short again, to travel abroad (London and Berlin are on my upcoming travel plans), and to be even more surrounded by people whom I love and admire.
As far as today’s recipe goes, it’s basically an adaptation of this one. It’s a delicious and easy stew, perfect for the cold weather and that goes very well not only with toasted wholegrain bread, but also with some simply cooked quinoa. The recipe is easily doubled, which makes it also a very croud-pleasing dish. Hope you’re all having a great time, and I wish you a 2011 full of fruitful projects and ideas.
Adzuki bean and celery stew
(serves 4 to 6)
500 grams cooked adzuki beans*
10 canned whole plum tomatoes, drained, rinsed and roughly chopped
2 cups light stock
2 large heads of celery (stalks only, trimmed and sliced into 2cm thick chunks)
1 teaspoon celery salt*
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large white onion, peeled and finely sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1. In a large pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, onion and celery chunks and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, or until the vegetables are soften. Add the garlic and 1 teaspoon of the celery salt and cook for additional 4 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes, stock and the beans to the pan. Bring to a simmer and, once simmering, decrease the heat to low and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Taste and season with a bit more celery salt if needed. Let the stew sit for a couple of minutes before serving.
*to make the celery salt: Pick a couple leaves (no less than 10) from the celery heads. Heat a dry skillet over high heat and add the leaves. Let them toast for 5 to 10 minutes, or until totally dried out. Then, crumble equal parts of the dried leaves with flaky sea salt. For better results, grind the mixture in a coffee grinder.
*to cook the beans: Soak the beans in a large amount of water for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse them and put them in a large pot. Add water to come at least 2 centimeters over the beans. Bring the water to a boil and, once boiling, decrease the heat to low-medium and cook, covered, for 1 to 2 hours. Once ready, salt the beans and drain them – reserving a couple cups of the liquid in which they were cooked, that you can later use in preparations such as stews and soups. You can now use the beans, refrigerate them (they’ll keep, store in the refrigerator in an airtight container, for up to a week), or bag and freeze them.
recipe adapted from 101 cookbooks