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Author Notes: I have loved legume and peanut butter stews inspired by west African cuisine that I have made in the past, so I just went into the kitchen and started playing with beans and peanut butter. It didn't hurt that summer was ending, giving me access to all sorts of wonderful seasonal goodies, like the last of the corn and beginning of the winter squashes. And if you live in the north, like I do, it will keep you warm as the nights get cooler. —The Spiced Life
For the kidney beans:
- 2 cups dried kidney beans
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the stew:
- 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 sweet bell peppers, chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons cider vinegar, to deglaze
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder
- 1 teaspoon ground Ancho chile powder
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
- 2 medium-large tomatoes, chopped, with juices
- kernels from 3 ears of corn
- 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
- cooked beans, including their liquid
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, to taste
- 3 small-medium zuccchini, sliced into half-moons
- 1-2 tablespoons cider vinegar, to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- chopped peanuts, for garnish
- Start the night before by soaking the beans in cold water. Make sure they are covered by at least 2 inches of water.
- The next day, dump the beans (I use the soaking water–this is your preference) into a 4 quart heavy sauce pan with enough water to cover by 2 inches and bring to a boil. Add the single chopped onion and 4 cloves of minced garlic. Let it boil for about 5 minutes, and then cover and reduce the heat to maintain the barest simmer. Check every hour or so to add water to keep the beans covered by 2 inches.
- When the beans are tender, add 1 teaspoon of salt, cover, and turn off the heat. Begin preparing the stew.
- Heat a large (I use a 7 quart–this recipe makes a lot) Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the oil and heat until it is shimmering, then add the 2 chopped onions with a pinch of salt. Let them cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add the 6-8 cloves of minced garlic and the chopped bell peppers and cook another 5 minutes.
- By now, the vegetables may be starting to stick a bit. Add a splash or 2 of cider vinegar to deglaze the pan and cook until the liquid has boiled off (add it even if it is not sticking because the flavor it contributes is tremendous).
- Add the spices and the butternut squash and stir to distribute the spices evenly. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and the corn kernels and bring to a boil.
- Add the peanut butter and mix until it has dissolved into a sauce.
- Add the cooked kidney beans with the cooking liquid. Add the brown sugar, to taste, with a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the butternut squash is fork tender.
- About 10 minutes before you think the butternut squash will be ready, add the zucchini to the pot (add it late so that it does not become too mushy).
- Right before serving, taste for additional spices, brown sugar, or cider vinegar (I think I added more of all of those). Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and serve over rice.
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