Sunday, August 09, 2009

Chile Bean Stew

My husband and I have been making an effort to lead healthier lives lately. We've been walking the dogs twice a day, steering clear of fast food, eating leaner meats, more fruit and trying to have vegetarian meals as often as possible. So far, we are making some pretty impressive progress and along the way, we have stumbled across some fresh, fast and easy recipes that have pleased our taste buds and our waistlines! I am a bargain hunter at heart and couldn't pass up a cookbook entitled All in One for $3.99 clearing at the local Homesense. The beauty of the book, aside from the price, is the endless variety of one-pot meals that appeal to both a lean budget and a lean diet. Full of bright, color photos, simple yet fresh ingredient lists and short, simple directions, this book is an asset I still can't believe cost less than a grande cappuccino at Starbucks...

Even though we are trying to go leaner and lighter, we still need a meal that fills up our stomachs with hearty goodness while keeping our hearts happy. This hearty and thick bean chile has everything you need to feel satisfied without the guilt! A bonus is that you will more than likely have everything you need already at home!

Even though I use cookbooks, I generally only refer to them as inspirational guidelines and I tend to stray in terms of amounts, cooking timelines and even ingredients. I handled this recipe no different, so here is my shakedown of the ingredient list!

What you will need:
Olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
2-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2-4 fresh chilies (I used jalapenos)
19 oz can of kidney beans
19 oz can of lentils
19 oz can chickpeas
2 tbsp. tomato paste
3 - 3 3/4 cups vegetable stock
1 red bell pepper
4 tomatoes, roughly chopped (Roma's have lovely flavor!)
19 oz can fava beans
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro

*cilantro and sour cream for garnish

Once you have collected your goodies, head to the chopping block!

Begin by heating the olive oil in a deep stock pot or dutch oven. Cook the onions, garlic and chilies together, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until the chilies and onions have softened. Add the kidney beans, the lentils, the chickpeas and the fava beans. In a separate bowl, mix the tomato paste with a little bit of the stock and pour over the bean mixture. Add the remaining stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Add the bell pepper, tomatoes and pepper to taste and simmer for an additional 15 - 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.
Stir in the chopped cilantro.

Serve the chili with a generous dollop of sour cream, chopped cilantro and a handful of corn tortilla chips! If you have been good throughout the week, a cool, crisp bear makes an excellent accompaniment to this dish!

I love these little guys, it's like they are always looking at me!

I recommend a cast iron dutch oven for something like this, you can sweat the onions, soften the veggies and simmer the stew all in one pot!

Produce, like bell peppers, green chilies and even fresh beans, are at their peak in summer months! Vegetarian dishes take full advantage of what the summer has to offer!

Although field tomatoes may be cheaper, roma tomatoes, subsequently cheap and affordable in the summer months, pack more flavor and punch than their cheaper, larger compatriots. Just in case you didn't know.

E voilĂ ! A delicious, good for you, all veggie meal that will leave you happy, full and healthy!

1 comment:

Nikki said...

Umm.. for anyone who noticed, I don't make it a habit to consume cool, crisp bears, I only resort to bears when the Bud Light Lime beers are out of stock... just to clear things up.... and I am laughing out loud...