The nights are long. People are sniffling and coughing. Everywhere is the unmistakable shuffle of the half alive. It is that lovely time of the year I like to refer to as the nights of the living dead. If you are like me, for the last few weeks you’ve treated people like they carried the plague, yet somehow you still got infected. After spending nearly a week self-quarantined, I emerged alive and managed to bring you the first recipe of December, albeit a week later then planned. This cider and bean stew is perfect for those with the sniffles or the winter blues. It is quick, easy, warm and very delicious. It is also vegetarian for anyone who adheres to such things.
So before we get started on the recipe, there is a decent amount of chopping in this recipe so I just want to take a moment to make sure everyone knows the proper cutting techniques. Since my time at culinary school, I have done my best to annoy friends and family into cutting properly, though I have not been very successful so far. Proper technique and the correct knife will save you a lot of time and effort as well as make it safer. Rather then tell you what to do, I find it easier to show you.
Ok so everyone has probably chopped an onion, but not properly. First, when chopping an onion, do not cut off the root. This is where most of the acid that burns our eyes is located, so cutting it releases more of it. The best way to chop an onion is to cut it in half, then cutting into the onion like this.
This is the easiest way, with the root holding the onion together. (an unrelated tip, if you are making a salad or anything using raw onions, soak them in ice water for 5 – 10 minutes. This makes the onions milder.)
Leeks seem to not be very common in recipes in North America, which is a shame because its one of my favourite vegetables. So, many people may not be familiar with how to chop leeks. Its very easy, you just need to know what parts are good and not. The dark green parts are pretty much useless. You want to cut off most of the top because its too tough. Also, the layers can trap dirt, so make sure to rinse them in a colander after chopping
Cider and Bean Stew
This hearty,, quick and easy to make, vegetarian stew of beans and hard cider is excellent for those dark winter nights. Serve with cheddar and parsley mashed potatoes for an excellent accompaniment.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1 carrot (diced)
- 1 leek (chopped)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 can chopped tomato (about 400g-ish)
- 1 can white lima beans (drained, about 200g-ish)
- 1 can white kidney beans/cannellini (drained, about 400g-ish)
- 3/4 cup dry cider
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- thyme leaves
- 2 sausages
- 1 tsp olive oil
Cheddar-Parsley Mashed Potatoes
- 4 potatoes
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 handful chopped parsley
Heat oil in a large pan and fry the onion, garlic, carrot and leek until soft but not coloured. Add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, lima beans, white kidney beans, cider, stock and thyme and simmer for 15-20 mins until the stew has thickened and the veg are tender.
If you’re adding sausages to any portion, snip each sausage into 3-4 chunks. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and brown the chunks for 5 mins, then stir into the stew and gently simmer for the remaining cooking time. Serve with the mash.
Cheddar-Parsley Mashed Potatoes
Peel the potatoes, cut into chunks, and boil in salted water for 15 mins or so until tender. Drain, return to the pan and mash with a splash of milk, 2 tbsp butter, 1/2 cup of grated cheddar (or to taste) and a handful of chopped parsley. Season. If you like, put the mashed potatoes in a heatproof dish, dot with butter and place under broil for a few mins for a golden and crisp finish.
This December, I will be posting four new recipes using cider, this Cider and Bean stew was for winter. My Hanukkah recipe will be coming out later this week, so stay tuned! *spoiler alert, its something fried!* Of course a Christmas and New Years recipe will follow so please check those out!
Want more apple recipes? Check out The Sober Apple!