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Spicy Red Bean & Chorizo Stew

Add zing to this spicy stew by topping each portion with the optional jicama salad.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups dried red kidney beans, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups beef or chicken stock
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 lb. cured Spanish-style chorizo, cut into slices 1/4 inch thick

For the jicama salad (optional):

  • 1 jicama, about 3/4 lb.
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
  • 1 to 2 tsp. prepared horseradish
  •  
  • Tabasco or other hot-pepper sauce, to taste
  • Cooked white rice for serving

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the beans with water to cover by 2 inches and let soak overnight. Drain well.

In a large, heavy fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onion, celery and bell pepper and sauté until softened and just beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, season with salt and black pepper and cook for 1 minute more. Pour in 1 cup of the stock and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Transfer the contents of the pan to a slow cooker and stir in the beans, the remaining 3 cups stock, the vinegar, red pepper flakes, bay leaves and chorizo. Cover and cook on low according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the beans are very tender, 6 to 8 hours, stirring once or twice if possible.

Meanwhile, make the jicama salad: Peel the jicama and shred it on the large holes of a box grater or, using a large, sharp knife, cut it into thin slices and then into matchsticks. In a bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified, then whisk in the parsley and horseradish. Add the jicama and toss to coat evenly.

Remove and discard the bay leaves from the stew. Season with salt, black pepper and Tabasco. If desired, using the back of a spoon, mash some of the beans against the inside of the cooker to thicken the stew.

Divide the rice among warmed shallow bowls and ladle the bean stew over the rice. Top each serving with a large spoonful of the jicama salad and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma The New Slow Cooker, by Brigit Binns (Weldon Owen, 2010).