Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Stew Deconstructed

This weekend we went to Marine World near San Francisco. My five year old daredevil wanted to test her theory that she was tall enough to ride roller coasters. She was tall enough for some, and she took full advantage. She is really fearless that way. Good thing she had her dad with her for all the whirly rides; I cannot take spinning! Those kinds of trips always put things into perspective for me. For me, it is a glimpse into how the rest of this country eats and how disconnected  I am from that. I noticed this walking past the snack carts and the dilemma we faced trying to eat lunch. I appreciate my reality checks. I appreciate how we are able to bring locally grown food into our home. I value the time I am afforded to cook meals that nourish my family. I am very lucky indeed.
To celebrate this, I made a meatless spring "stew" that went over really well at the dinner table. Still needing a bit of hearty to counter cool nights, but ready for a bit of spring, I wondered if deconstructing a heavier dish would work to lighten it a bit. At dinnertime, little M walked up to the table, stared at this dish for a good half minute and announced "I will not be having dinner tonight." What she did not know, was that dish she was scoffing at had food she normally really loves. I wondered if my experiment had gone terribly wrong! D and I started eating and knew immediately it was a winner. The deconstructed flavors intensified the dish. The olive oil pulled it all together. M sat and watched us for a while and decided to take a bite. She liked it. "I like the bean juice" were her exact words. Ok, I'll take it. Darn! My harsh critic is a pint sized flavor queen. Love it!

Spring Stew!
Serves 4

1 cup dried small white navy beans
1 large bay leaf
pinch salt
1 1/2 cups water or stock
In pressure cooker or pot cover beans with water making sure water or stock is at least 1 inch over top of beans. Cook for 45 min by pressure cooker or 90 min. by regular cooking. After beans are cooked, scoop extra cooking water out of the pots. You are looking for slightly juicy looking beans. Take a potato masher or a fork and mash half of the beans. This will allow the extra cooking water to be absorbed by the bean starch and not be runny in your serving dish.

1 cup thinly sliced leeks
1 tlbs. olive oil
pinch salt
In a heavy bottomed pan (I used a cast iron skillet) heat olive oil and sautee leeks on med-high heat until starting to brown; about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool

Sun Dried Tomatoes
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
1 cup water
In a sauce pan, warm tomatoes and water until simmering. Turn off heat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Remove from water, drain, and chop finely. Set aside

3 small-medium beets
3 medium carrots
1 tlbs olive oil
pinch salt
Steam both carrots and beets in a pot with a steamer basket.  Make sure to check on the water level, adding more as needed so the bottom of the pot does not burn. I steamed mine for about 20-25 minutes. Check for doneness by piercing with a sharp knife. Vegetables should be very soft. Remove from steamer basket and toss with olive oil and a pinch of salt.

To plate dishes, scoop about 1/2 cup of beans into a plate or bowl. Add 1/4 of vegetables mixture, tomatoes and leeks last. Drizzle a small spoonful of olive oil at the end.


Anonymous said...

i think i'll have to make this very very soon. sounds delish and now i get the deconstructed bit. x

Raquel said...

This sounds wonderful! I might have to substitute green onions for leeks, though. My mom hates leeks for some reason!

Becky said...

Jess, that really sounds delicious. I have been clinging to the soups and stews and heavy dishes, but I think it's time to move on to spring cooking. Of course we got some snow last weekend so I am cutting myself some slack!

Anonymous said...

oh my god that looks amazing! the things you do with boring old beans... we are still trying to work through all of the beans we got at last years farm share. i really hope you get a subscription there, you would love coming up with things to do with all of those heirloom legumes. you inspire me on so many levels.

dreaminitvegan said...

What a beautiful meal!

Anonymous said...

Ooooh, this looks so good! Nina's never had beets, it would be interesting to see what she thinks of them. For a three-year old, she has a very discerning palate - funny how I always wait for her reaction to a new dish before anyone else's!

Anonymous said...

I made this for dinner yesterday. I through a few cloves of garlic in the steamer, which I them mashed into the beans for some extra depth. A really impressive meal!

Please keep the recipes coming!

Jessica said...

Thank you for taking the chance and making the dish and giving me feedback. I love the addition of garlic!

info said...

love the recipes on your blog! thanks so much for all the inspiration!

what kind of classes do you teach and where? we are planning on a move to SF and would love to look you up!


Jessica said...

anna..I don't teach classes in the bay area. I am in the norcal foothills..about a 3 hr. drive from sf. But, congratulations on moving out west! very envious you get to move to sf!!

Anonymous said...

Wow... this blog is so popular. I just wanted to know how do you monetize it? Can you give me a few advices? For example, I use

I'm earning about $1500 per month at he moment. What will you recommend?


Related Posts with Thumbnails