I have several go-to quick and easy dinners, that sort of all follow the same general pattern, but can be changed depending on what I have in the house.
This is how I made this dish yesterday, I will share what I did yesterday and then some ways to mix it up, sky’s the limit really…
2 small or 1 large carrot chopped
1 small onion chopped
1 clove of garlic (optional) finely chopped
ca. 2 cm ginger (this is the main source of heat in this dish so add or remove to taste, I like it quite spicy) finely chopped
1 small tin chickpeas
1 small tin pinto beans
1 ts dried coriander
1 ts dried cumin
1 T smoked paprika (you can use normal paprika, but the smoked one adds an extra dimension)
juice of one lemon
1 1/2 to 2 cups passata (or 1 box tinned tomatoes and water fill about half the tin)
1 T peanut butter
salt and pepper to taste
about a ts of maple syrup/honey/sugar if necessary (if using tinned tomatoes you will often find that you need just a little bit of sweetness to round off the flavour)
a bunch fresh coriander (although it is not strictly speaking necessary it makes it a lot nicer…)
Sauté the onions and carrots for a couple of minutes before adding the ginger and garlic. Rinse off the beans and add them to the pan. I like to add the dry spices at this point to give them a little extra flavour, (to do it properly I should toast the whole spices and then grind them in a pestle and mortar, I don’t do that most days…) squeeze the juice out of the lemon and let it simmer for a few minutes, then add the tomato. (I like to mash the beans a little before adding the tomato)
Let it simmer for as long as you have it will only get better, add the peanut butter, salt and pepper and maple syrup if needed just a few minutes before you want to serve it and the last thing you do is add the chopped fresh coriander.
That is it, I served it with kamut spaghetti and chopped fresh spinach, however I think that really rice would work even better. I like to add a layer of fresh greens like spinach, rocket or kale, it adds both crunch and it’s oh so good for you too…
1. Change up the beans! Black beans and chickpeas work well, kidney beans is a classic. Another combination that work well is to sub half the beans for sweet corn, aesthetically I prefer them with black beans, but you do not need to heed my preferences here.
2. Spices, there is so much you can do here! Normally I would add about a teaspoon of turmeric or a little more, but I was out yesterday. Cinnamon and cloves are really nice in tomato stews too, adds a bit of a Mexican twang occasionally, make sure that you use them in moderation though as they can take over really easily, especially cloves. Cardamom is another spice that would go nicely in here. If you are feeling really flush try some saffron, yes it is expensive, but then you only need a tiny little bit to add some exquisite flavour. I would be tempted to sub the lemon for orange if I used saffron, those two flavours complement each other beautifully.
3. Add some greenery! As in vegetables, if I had had any I would have added celery in the beginning with the carrots and onions, the classic start to any stew for a very good reason. Some chopped peppers would go down well I am sure, sweet potatoes would be really nice in here, although I would be tempted to boil them separately if I didn’t know for sure that I would let the stew simmer for a long time. You can always chop them in smaller pieces and they will (obviously) boil faster, however I like sizable pieces of sweet potato.
4. Have fun! Seriously this is just guidelines and I never really make it the same way twice, because I never have the same stuff around or remember what I did last time…
This serves two with a lot of leftovers, so 3 generous servings really, but I like having left overs for lunch and dinner the next day. The left overs for this one for instance made part of both our lunches today as well as being added to a lot of veggies to make a coconutty kinda curry for dinner tonight.