Friday, February 24, 2012

Potaje de Alubias facil con todo hervido (Easy Spanish Bean Stew with everything boiled))

This is another way I like to prepare beans, it is very healthy, simple, delicious and with ingredients that should be readily available to anyone. What I like about this recipe is that all the aromatic vegetables (garlic, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes) are boiled whole, and thrown in the pot with the beans, as opposed to having to chop them sautee them in the oil which is typical of a sofrito used in Cuban and Spanish cooking oftentimes for bean stews, that are then added to the beans towards the end of the cooking process. This way I just throw everything in one pot when I want to prepare a Spanish bean stew and still have good results.

The recipe I have here is completely vegetarian, but if you want this to be a complete meal with no sides and just eat it with bread or rice, you can easily boil some pork ribs, whole sausages, ham hocks, chunks of ham, chunks of beef, etc. along with the beans for protein & flavor.

After the beans are cooked I like to puree the vegetables used to cook them and then strain them into the stock (to remove any seeds, the garlic skin, etc.) that way I don't waste anything, however the pureed and strained garlic can be a little over powering for those who don't like a strong garlic taste, but to me it's delicious... the potato in the recipe is used as a thickener and gives the stew a nutty flavor so I suggest you don't omit it but it's your choice :) Anyways here's how i made it.

-1 lbs of dried beans (I used pintos this recipe works good with white beans, mayocoba beans, red beans, black beans, and pretty much any bean you have on hand, just don't use it for lentils or peas in my opinion)
-1 large tomato
-1 whole onion, outer skin removed, ends removed
-1 whole head of garlic
-1 whole green or red bell pepper
-1 large potato, peeled and washed
-1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
-salt to taste
-1 teaspoon ground cumin

(1) Rinse beans and drain, you can soak them overnight if desired.
(2) Dump all ingredients in the pot with the beans EXCEPT the salt and cumin, cover with enough water (don't drown it in water maybe like 1- 2 inches water above the beans)
(3) After 1 1/2- 3 hrs your beans should be tender (depends how old they are, if you soaked or not, etc.) but test them by pressing them, here's how it looked for me when it was tender
(4) Remove the vegetables,
and puree them in a blender with some of the bean liquid
(5) Strain them back into the pot of beans, add salt to taste, the spices, and allow to boil for 5- 10 additional minutes and your done should look like this :)
P.S. My grandmother would always fry all the aromatics chopped up in generous amounts of olive oil or lard (garlic, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes), and cut the garlic in half (only use 6-8 cloves) for black beans she would omit the tomato & rarely used potato. But I learned this way of making it from other blogs and stuff and appreciate it's simplicity :)