Since my pantry is full of all sorts of dried beans that I don’t use nearly enough, here is a recipe for white bean stew with pumpkin that I adapted from the lovely book Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
A little warning: if you use dried beans as suggested, this is not a quick stew to make. But I prefer dried beans over canned because I believe the whole soaking business makes them much more digestible.
That being said, you may substitute canned beans if you like (you’ll need 4 cups/2 cans)- you’ll skip the part about simmering the beans at the beginning of the recipe. You will start by sautéing the veggies right in your soup pot, then add the drained canned beans, pumpkin and stock, and cook for just about 30 minutes. Finish with the shallots and wine, garnish, and serve. Quick and easy, but probably not as tasty as the longer version. —WinnieAb
cannellini beans, soaked
white onion, stuck with 2 cloves
white onion, chopped
cloves garlic, minced
ribs celery, chopped
bunch kale or other dark leafy green, tough stems removed, chopped
sugar pumpkin or winter squash, chopped
water or vegetable stock
dry red wine
sea salt and black pepper to taste
a little crème fraîche for garnish-optional
minced fresh herbs such as parsley, dill, and thyme for garnish-optional
Start by placing 2 cups of dried white cannellini beans in a large bowl. Cover with water and soak overnight or for at least 4 hours. Pick out any beans that have floated to the surface and then drain.
Put the beans in a large soup pot with water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, skimming off and discarding any foam that rises to the surface. Lower the heat and add the bay leaves, 1/2 onion with cloves, and parsley. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
While the beans are simmering, heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet and add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook for about 1 minute over medium heat and then add the chopped celery, carrot and kale. Add a little water to the pan and then cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
Back to the beans: remove the onion, cloves, and bay leaves. Pour off the cooking water and and mix 1 tsp. salt into the cooked beans. Add the cooked vegetables and the chopped pumpkin, along with 6 cups of water or vegetable stock (chicken stock could also be used). Cook over low-medium heat for another 1/2-1 hour, until the beans are quite tender (the veggies will be very soft at this point). Add a little more stock or water as needed.
In your skillet, melt the butter with the shallots. Cook for several minutes over medium heat, and then add the wine. Simmer until the wine is reduced by 1/2-3/4 and then add what remains to the beans. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Garnish with a dollop of crème fraîche and minced herbs, if desired, and serve alone or with a big thick slice of your favorite bread.
I grew up in a restaurant family (my parents owned the now closed Quilted Giraffe in NYC) and I've always loved to cook.
My interest in the connection between food and health led me to pursue a graduate degree in naturopathic medicine. I don't practice medicine anymore; I have a blog called Healthy Green Kitchen that I started in May of 2009 and I wrote a book called One Simple Change that will be published in January, 2014.
I live in upstate New York with my family and many pets.