There are probably very few countries on the planet that don’t have a traditional bean stew recipe. And then, within countries, there are many regional variations. Many of them already vegan, or extremely simple to ‘veganise’.
Beans are easy to grow, and easy to store. Whether you use dried or tinned, they will always soak up whatever spices, herbs and other flavourings you offer them.
Here is my adaptation of a Columbian Bean and Plantain Stew + Fried Plantains and steamed rice. To my mind, cooking is always about flavour combinations, and this stew uses a combination of herbs and spices known as ‘Sazon’.
As to the method, the beans and vegetables are cooked gently and slowly in the seasonings, and then a sizzling Hogado is added toward the end of cooking. The Hogado is similar to a Tarka in Asian cooking.
The seasoning is easy enough to make, there is only one ingredient I didn’t have, which is Annatto.
The scent of Annatto is described as “slightly peppery with a hint of nutmeg” and the flavor as “slightly nutty, sweet and peppery”. I must track some down.
Recipe ‘Sazon’ Seasoning (with or without Annatto):*
- 2tsps. coriander seeds
- 2 tsps. cumin seeds
- 2 tsps.salt
- 1.5 tsps. ground black pepper
- 1tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tsps. annatto / or / 1tsp. turmeric, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. chilli powder.*
- 2 tsps. garlic powder / or 3 crushed garlic cloves *
Grind all the herbs and spices together to form a fine powder. If using garlic cloves, crush them separately, and keep separate in a small bowl.
COLUMBIAN BEAN AND PLANTAIN STEW + FRIED PLANTAIN
- ‘Sazon’ Seasoning : measurements as above
- approx. 500gms. cooked beans: I used a mix of kidney beans + large white ‘moonlight’ runner beans. (I cook beans in batches and freeze until needed. Tinned beans will be fine for this recipe too)
- 2 large carrots ( approx. 250gms.)
- 1 large green plantain
- 1 large onion
- 2-3 spring onions
- 3-4 large tomatoes
- 750ml. vegetable stock
- 2-3 tbs. tomato puree
- 40-50gms. fresh coriander (cilantro)
- 2-3 tbs. olive oil
- 1 ripe plantain ( for side dish: fried plantain) + 1tbs. olive oil for frying.
- Wash, peel and dice carrots.
- Peel and finely chop onion.
- Skin and finely chop tomatoes.
- Wash and finely chop spring onions.
- Peel and dice green plantain.
- Finley chop fresh coriander.
- In a deep casserole, place on a medium heat and add 1tbs. oil.
- Saute diced carrots: 3 mins.
- Add crushed garlic (if using) : saute : 1 min.
- Add Sazon spice seasoning. Saute: 1 min. Avoid burning.
- Add beans, diced green plantain + 750ml. hot vegetable stock + 2-3 tbs. tomato puree.
- Stir to combine.
- Bring to boil, then cover and simmer gently: 45. mins. or more, until tender and soupy.
- The longer a stew like this cooks, the better it tastes. Add a little extra water if necessary and adjust seasonings according to taste.
- In a wide pan, add 2 tbs.oil.
- On a high heat, saute finely chopped onions: 8mins.
- Add chopped tomatoes. Fry 2-3 mins.
- Add chopped spring onions + chopped fresh coriander : 30 secs.
- Tip sizzling Hogado into bean mix.
- Allow stew to simmer gently : 15 mins.
Prepare fried ripe plantain:
- Peel and slice plantain in thin diagonal slices.
- In a wide pan add 1 tbs. olive oil, and on a medium heat, fry sliced plantain 3-4 mins. each side, until soft and golden.
Serve with steamed rice or flatbreads.
Like so many slow-cooked stews, curries and casseroles, this tastes even better reheated the next day……..
here’s a link to my recipe for East African Bean Stew…(click image)