Sunday, October 11, 2009

Italian White Bean Stew

I've gone and done it. Taken a pure wholesome dish by Vegan Dad and bastardized it with the addition of bacon. Yes, those crispy bits from formerly cute little piglets. But come on now, doesn't everything taste better with bacon? No I'm serious about that - I had the pleasure of tasting chocolate covered bacon in Hermanus 2 weekends ago and let me tell you it was a glorious thing. I was skeptical at first, I'm not gonna lie to you, but when I tasted that first biteful of salty crispy bacon and sweet creamy chocolate... well! It was like discovering a dirty little secret. And we all know how good those are, right?

But I digress. Because this has nothing to do with bacon and chocolate. Just a big bowlful of flavourful beans with a little bit of bacon to perk them up. Now doesn't that sound perfect for a lazy weekend?

Italian White Bean Stew
Adapted from Vegan Dad 

Serves 4 - 6

1 1/2 cups dried cannelini/white haricot beans
4 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tsps minced garlic
125g extra-lean bacon, chopped
1 celery stalk, finely diced
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 bayleaves
1/2 tsp dried red chilli flakes
salt & pepper to taste
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup of white wine
1 tbsp tomato paste
a squirt of lemon juice

1. Place beans in a microwaveable container and cover with water. Microwave on high for 50 minutes.
2. Meanwhile saute onion, garlic and bacon over medium-high heat for a minute or two. Add celery and carrot and cook another 5 minutes or until starting to soften.
3. Add beans, bayleaves, tomatoes, tomato paste, chilli flakes and wine and stir to combine. Season to taste, cover and cook for another 20 minutes until the beans and veggies are tender. Add a squirt of lemon juice and serve on a bed of creamy polenta or with some deliciously crusty bread.

Note: The quantity of dried beans is equal to about 2 1/2 cups of cooked beans if you want to take a shortcut and use a tin. No shame in that.

Nutritional info (per serving): Calories 284.6 , Total fat 4.3 g, Saturated fat 0.9 g, Polyunsaturated fat 0.5 g, Monounsaturated fat 2.1 g, Cholesterol 0.0 mg, Sodium 116.1 mg, Potassium 917.7 mg, Total carbohydrate 38.2 g, Dietary fiber 8.5 g, Sugars 2.6 g, Protein 19.3 g

Good source of: Vitamin A 61.1 %, Manganese 50.3 %, Iron 26.4 %, Folate 26.2 %, Magnesium 21.3%


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