Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Lima Bean & Tomato Stew with Squash & Tuscan Kale

A medley of antioxidant and nutrient rich ingredients makes this hearty vegetarian stew a healthy and comforting wintertime feast. Lima beans, also known as butter beans or chad beans, are very low in fat and contain no cholesterol, which is why they — and most other vegetables — play a key role in a heart-healthy diet. Named for the capital of Peru where they've been cultivated for more than 6,000 years, a serving of lima beans contains about 4% of the recommended daily value for protein and can be a big plus in a vegetarian diet when many protein sources are derived from animals. Enormously nutritious, Tuscan kale, also called cavolo nero, is more delicate and less bitter than other varieties, with a rounded, almost nutty flavour. A robust red wine and vegetable stock infused tomato broth anchors the stew with a soffrito of sautéed onion, garlic and fresh ginger browned in olive oil and then simmered with diced butternut squash, sliced mushrooms, lima beans and chopped kale for about 30 minutes until the flavours come together to a warm and inviting potage. Sprinkled with a little fresh grated pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano, this hearty stew is guaranteed to warm the 'cockles' of your heart — wherever they are!

Tuscan kale, also called lacinato or black kale, is more delicate than other varieties

Lima beans

Diced onion slivered garlic and missed ginger are sautéed in olive oil for 6-8 minutes

The onions are soft and translucent and the garlic sweet and fragrant

8-ounces of sliced button mushrooms are added and cooked until soft, about 4 minutes

The mushrooms are have softened and are just cooked through

The canned tomatoes, butternut squash, beans, red wine, bay leaves, hot chili sauce, and vegetable stock are added and brought to a boil then simmered for 20 minutes

The sliced Tuscan kale is then added and cooked another 10 minutes

The stew is now ready to be served

Lima Bean Stew with Tomatoes, Butternut Squash & Tuscan Kale

Serves 6-8

2 19 oz can cooked lima beans, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 cup diced onion 
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp grated ginger
8 ounces shiitake, cremini or button mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 bay leaves
4 cups vegetable stock
1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 tsp Sambal Oelek hot chili sauce, or to taste
Freshly ground white pepper and kosher salt to taste
4 oz Tuscan kale, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
Fresh grated Parmigiana, for garnish

Set a large pot over medium heat and cook the onions, garlic and ginger in the olive oil and cook about 6 to 8 minutes. Turn the heat to medium high and add the mushrooms, cooking until golden brown. Add the squash, beans, bay leaves, canned tomatoes, red wine, Sambal Oelek, vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the kale and cook another 10 minutes until the squash is cooked though but not mushy. Add a little more water or vegetable stock for a more liquid stew and season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Discard the bay leaves and serve the stew hot with some grated parmesan.