Slow Food Sunday: Bean Stew

You have a bunch of beans and some extra time to wait for the food to cook – it’s bean stew time. Bean stews are wonderful slowfoods, being easily varied into different cuisines by just playing around with the ingredients and some spices.

Few weeks ago Nomad was talking about a creamy bean stew, and couple of days later I made a stew using beans, potatoes, carrots, tomato passata and oat cream. It was good, but we felt it could be better. And here’s the improved version of the creamy bean stew: no potatoes this time, but bell pepper and celery instead.

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Creamy Bean Stew

3 tbsp oil
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1 onion
2 celery stalks
1 big bell pepper
2-3 garlic cloves
4 carrots
1 can tomato passata
4 dl white beans
4 dl fava beans or kidney beans
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp thyme
salt, pepper
2 dl oat cream
water

rice, barley or other grains for serving

Chop the onion and garlic. Cut the bell pepper in bite size chunks. Slice celery and carrots. If you have a pot that can be used both on stove top and in oven use it, use a sauce pan or any pot. Heat the oil in your pot and fry cumin, garam masala and paprika about 20 seconds. Add onions and fry couple of minutes. Add celery, bell pepper, carrot and garlic and continue frying for few minutes. Add tomato, beans, basil, thyme and enough water to barely cover everything. Put your pot into oven (or transfer the mixture into an oven proof dish) and bake 2-3 hours in 175 Celsius degrees. Add more water during the baking if needed. Add cream and season with salt and pepper. Bake while you cook the rice.

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Wine Wednesday: Fennel Soup

Some time ago I received a few Swedish magazines, mostly targeted for middle-aged women, but decided to have a look in case they contained any interesting recipes. This soup was one of them. Originally this recipe called for shrimps, but we simply omitted them and veganised the rest of the recipe. In case you want something bitey in your soup, give tofu or maybe a small batch of white beans a try. Anyway, this is a really nice refreshing soup, where the fennel combined with the white wine brings out a really great taste.

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Creamy Fennel Soup

10 cm leek
1 fennel bulp
1 carrot
2 tbsp oil
3 dl white wine
6 dl water
1 bouillon cube
3 tbsp wheat flour
2 dl oat or soy cream
salt, pepper

Coarsely chop leek, fennel and carrot. Heat the oil in a pot and sauté the vegetables until leek is soft. Add wine, 5 dl water and bouillon cube to the pot and bring to boil. Mix the wheat flour with remaining 1 dl of water and slowly pour to the pot, stirring the soup at the same time. (Or mix the flour with vegetables before adding water or wine.) Cook 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft and puree with a blender. Add cream and heat thoroughly, season with salt and pepper.

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Creamy Spinach Soup

At least in Finland everyone knows spinach soup. It’s very popular, regularly served in schools, lunch diners, basically everywhere. While the idea of making a creamy soup from spinach (or nettle) might not sound too fancy, the result is still excellent. Usually the soup is served with halved boiled eggs dipped into the the bowl, so if you’re feeling adventurous, feel free to experiment with something similar.

The texture of the soup is neat, and spinach (and moreso nettle, which is even better!) is healthy for you, so this is truly an awesome soup for a very minimal price!

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Spinach Soup / Nettle Soup

1 l fresh spinach or nettle leaves or 150 g frozen
1 shallot
1 tbsp oil
25 g margarine
3 tbsp wheat flour
1 l water
1 vegetable bouillon cube or 1 tbsp powder
salt, pepper
2 dl oat or soy cream

If you use fresh nettle leaves you have to boil them 3-4 minutes before using. Chop the boiled nettle leaves or fresh spinach leaves. Peel and finely chop the shallot. Heat the oil in a pot and sauté the shallot until soft. Add the margarine, allow to melt and stir in wheat flour. Add water in batches, stirring well between, and bring to boil. Add the bouillon cube or powder. Add the spinach or nettle, bring back to boil and simmer 5 minutes. Add cream, heat thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.

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Getting To Know The Jerusalem Artichoke

Friends of ours gave us a big bag of Jerusalem artichokes, because they had more than they could eat.  I had never cooked Jerusalem artichokes, but after doing some research I was sure they would be great if I baked them with cream and potatoes. So yesterday’s dinner included creamy potatoes & Jerusalem artichokes, pea & sweet potato loaf and cabbage & carrot salad.

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Creamy Potatoes And Jerusalem Artichokes

500g potaotes
500g Jerusalem artichokes
6 garlic cloves, or to taste
2-3 tbsp oil
2dl oat cream
salt and pepper
margarine or oil for greasing the dish

Fill a bowl with cold water. Peel the Jerusalem artichokes and put the peeled ones to the cold water, so they won’t get dark and ugly while you peel the rest of them. Peel the potatoes and garlic cloves. Heat the oil in a large pan. Cut the Jerusalem artichokes, potatoes and garlic cloves to thin slices and fry them in the oil 5-10 minutes or until they start to get soft. (If you don’t have a big enough pan, you can do it in two batches.) Add the cream and season with salt and pepper. Heat throughly and transfer into a greased oven proof dish. Cover with a lid, oven prood plate or aluminium foil and bake in 200 celsius degrees for 45 minutes. You can remove the lid for last 10-15 minutes to get a brown surface.