Saturday, November 5, 2011

Adzuki Bean + Winter Squash Stew

Yesterday I visited the Cayuga Organics stand at the Union Square Farmer's Market.  You know, the one that sells beautifully crusted beer bread and has bins and bins of dried heritage beans and grains.  I am always tempted to run my hands through the beans, right up to my elbows.  But I practiced restraint.  It's so hard not to play with your food, isn't it?

I bought a bag of pretty little adzuki beans and cooked up a riff on this recipe, shared on Heidi Swanson's blog, created by chef Rebecca Stevens - who, it turns out, is a fellow Natural Gourmet Institute grad!  Small world.  It's a great stew, on its own, or served over brown rice.  Pretty economical, too!

Anyway, here's how it goes:

Adzuki Bean + Winter Squash Stew
serves 6 to 8

1 winter squash (i.e. kabocha, acorn, butternut) - about 1-1/2 lbs.
1/2 cup water

1 cup dried adzuki beans, rinsed and picked over for pebbles
5 coins ginger, 1/8-inch thick
1 whole star anise
8 cups cold water

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 fennel bulb, diced

red pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 425F.  Cut squash in half, oil and salt it, and place cut side down in a baking dish with the 1/2 cup water.  Roast until tender, about 45 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, scoop out the cooked squash and set aside.

Meanwhile, place the beans, ginger, star anise, and water in a large soup pot.  Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer until tender, about 1 hour.  Add 1 teaspoon salt.

In a small saucepan, heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the onion, shallot, and fennel, and more salt. Cook covered over low heat until softened, about 10 minutes.

Remove the star anise and ginger from the beans once tender, stir in the vegetables and squash flesh, and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt to taste.   At this point I also added some red Aleppo pepper (red pepper flakes, or even cayenne, would work here - just be careful!)

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