Two of my favourite comfort ingredients have to be beans and chorizo. Green beans, red beans, butter beans, white beans, sugar beans, snake beans, soya beans, fava beans…any beans, really; just as long as they are beans. Beans are incredibly healthy and should be included in your diet almost as a matter of course. And why wouldn’t you? They make delicious pates, stews, soups and patties. Add chorizo and you have a match made in heaven.
Beans are legumes. There are three stages of development in a bean’s life, with the maturity of the bean ultimately determining how it is used.
During the first stage the bean is young, immature and tender enough for the whole thing to be eaten either raw, or cooked. I love them both ways, especially when they are straight out of my garden. The next stage in the bean’s life is when it is a teenager – slightly more mature, and with the pod being tougher. The bean inside can be removed, however, and just like peas, can be cooked for a short period of time and eaten.
The third and last stage is when pod and beans have dried completely. The beans can be removed and stored for long periods of time and cooked when needed. Now, I love dried beans and they are real comfort food for me, whichever way I cook them. You can soak and cook them from scratch; or you can use them straight from a can, where all the hard work has already been done for you. No shame in that – all the nutrition is still there.
I know someone who like me, enjoys beans and chorizo – J’Something, who cooks like a dream. He adds a splash of something fabulous to his recipe for Three Bean Chorizo Stew, so why don’t we cook it together now.
Three Bean Chorizo Stew
Hands-on (preparation) time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
1 large red pepper
1 tray of small tomatoes
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil of choice
2 onions, finely chopped
400g chorizo sausage [smoky or spicy], sliced
1 tsp. smoked paprika
3 cloves of garlic
½ cup Castle Milk Stout
1 x 400g tin or box of tomato puree
1 tin of chickpeas
1 tin cannellini or barlotti beans
1 tin butter beans
Salt & ground black pepper, to taste
Juice of a whole lemon
½ cup parsley, to garnish
Cut the red pepper in half, remove seeds and rub both the red pepper and whole baby tomatoes in oil.
Place red pepper and tomatoes in oven to grill, skin side up, till charred and skin has burst open.
Then remove from oven and let cool before peeling off the skin of the red pepper and cut into strips. Leave the tomatoes as is.
Thinly cover a thick-bottomed pot with 2 tablespoons of oil. Sweat the onion till translucent, but not browned.
Cut the chorizo into bite sized disks and add to the pot, fry until it begins to stick, then add Castle Milk Stout, 1 tablespoons at a time into the pot to deglaze and continue till the onion is caramelized.
Add tomato puree and season with paprika, salt and black pepper to taste.
While it simmers, remove the red pepper and tomatoes from the oven and allow to cool.
Add the red pepper, then all three tins of beans [rinsed in a colander] to the pot.
Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Allow to simmer for 30 minutes on medium heat. Stirring to prevent sticking at the bottom.
Add the roasted baby tomatoes, squeeze in the juice of a whole lemon and sprinkle with parsley just before serving.