Black Bean Stew
Butternut squash is rich in beta-carotene and other protective phytochemicals. Both squash and black beans are good sources of dietary fiber. The nutty taste of the squash is complemented by the caraway seeds and beer used to season this hearty vegetarian stew.
- 1 cup dried black beans
- 4 cups water
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small butternut squash, about 1 lb.
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp. caraway seeds
- 1/2 cup lager beer, at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, or more, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Pick over the beans, discarding any misshapen beans and stones, and rinse well. In a large pot, combine the beans with cold water to cover by 3 inches. Soak for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Alternatively, for a quick-soak method, bring the beans and water to a rapid simmer (but do not boil), then simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour.
Drain the beans, place in a large saucepan and add the 4 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer gently until almost tender but still quite firm, about 1 hour.
Add the onion and garlic to the beans, re-cover and continue to cook over low heat until the beans are tender, about 30 minutes more.
Cut the squash in half. Remove and discard the seeds, then peel the flesh. Cut the flesh into 1-inch cubes. Add the squash, bell pepper, oregano, caraway seeds and beer to the pan. Raise the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until the squash and beans are soft but still hold their shape, about 30 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper.
Ladle the stew into warmed soup bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Healthful Cooking, by Mary Abbott Hess, Dana Jacobi & Marie Simmons (Oxmoor House, 2003).