In an effort to get more comfortable with cooking vegan food I decided to attempt to make a vegan version of a pork and bean stew I made many moons ago. The thing I remember making this taste so special were all of the spices and the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. Ok, so this version is pretty different in that it has no pork and it uses kabocha squash instead of sweet potatoes.
I was a little worried that this wouldn’t have the depth of flavor I wanted without the pork but all the veggies and spices did the trick.
So I have one more confession, the original recipe also used red beans. This basically bears little to no resemblance to the original, which I got out of my Joy of Cooking cookbook. Doesn’t matter, it’s still delicious!
Adapted from Joy of Cooking... loosely
- 1 kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
- 1 lb of dried black beans
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 stalks of celery chopped
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 bay leaves
- 5-7 allspice berries
- 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
- 5-7 black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Tops of 5 red spring onions (or you can use regular spring onions or leek tops)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Cilantro, chopped
- Put the black beans in a large dutch oven with plenty of water to cover it over high heat. Bring to a rolling boil and boil the beans on high for an hour. This is a little trick I learned that allows me to skip the soaking part.
- After the beans have boiled for an hour, strain and set aside. In a clean dutch oven heat 3 Tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium high heat and then add the chopped, onions, celery, green and red bell peppers. Saute until the onions are translucent.
- Add 6 cups of water and then add the black beans, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, coriander seeds, allspice berries, peppercorns and green stalks of the red spring onions (I had these leftover from the Apple-icious Green Beans so I threw them in here but you could probably omit them). Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Cook beans for 1 hour and then add in the squash, cinnamon, lemon juice and salt to taste. Boil for another 20 minutes or until beans and squash are tender.
- Mix in chopped cilantro right before serving and save some for garnish.
- NOTE: You may have to add more water or adjust the cooking time of the beans depending on what kind of beans you get. I’ve noticed that some take longer to cook than others.