We are in the middle of one of the worst blizzards in modern Cape history and the noise from the wind and the constant power cuts are driving me a bit crazy. So, of course, as usual, I turned to the meditative and cathartic powers of cooking. I have a gas stove so knew that I could cook without being cut off part way through -- unlike my computer and my internet -- and I decided to make a bean stew, one that would make my house smell warm and homey, and be restorative when I got around to eating it in the evening.
This recipe makes enough for two. I made one portion that I ate as is, and plan on roughly puréeing the remainder and, as illustrated below, serving the purée on toast for lunch.
Should you not be a meat eater, you could omit the chorizo here, add a finely chopped clove of garlic to the pan when you add the onions, double down on the spices, use water instead of chicken stock, and end up with something quite delicious as well.
3/4 cups dried beans of your choice ( I used soldier beans)
1/3 - 1/2 lb of chorizo, sliced
1 small white onion, peeled and sliced into half moons
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp powdered cumin
1/4 tsp powdered coriander
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup chicken stock or water
2 tsps olive oil
Salt to taste
Either rehydrate the beans in salted water overnight or, if like me you decide to make this on the day of, rehydrate them by covering them (by an inch above the beans) with salted boiling water and leave them for a couple of hours before using them.
Heat the oil in a stockpot along with the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook for a few minutes, stirring often, until the onions have started to soften and become translucent.
Add the bay leaf and the spices to the onions and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly for an additional minute, until the spices are fragrant.
Pour in the beans and their soaking liquid. Add the chorizo and the stock. Stir to combine, cover, and lower the heat.
Cook on low for ninety minutes, checking at the halfway mark, stirring up the beans at the bottom and making sure that there is enough liquid left in the pot. If the beans have mostly absorbed it (which I highly doubt), add another quarter cup of water.
When done, check for seasoning though, between the bean water and the chorizo, the stew should be salty enough.
I planned on serving this with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped coriander leaves but the severity of the weather made me decide on a more unadorned, austere presentation.
This is best eaten pipping hot, while appreciating the glories of a roof, four walls, and central heating and praying that the gods of the power grid remain firmly on your side.
I roughly mashed the remainder of the beans after removing the slices of chorizo left, and squeezed in enough lemon juice to brighten the dish. I had some coriander relish (coriander -- stems too, ginger, scallions, garlic and olive oil pureed together with some salt, cumin and coriander) which I mixed with some preserved lemon and spread on my toasted egg bagel before ladling on the reheated beans and some mixed greens. A good and hearty lunch.