I choose this recipe from the December 2011 issue of Whole Living Magazine. It’s originally called White Bean And Mushroom Stew but the fact is that I don’t really care much for mushrooms. They’re slimy and well…their a fungus people! Need I say more?
Now it wouldn’t be a review if I didn’t tell you that I changed a few things in this recipe. Number one is, of course, that I omitted the mushrooms. Now if you’re one of those mushroom eaters then have at it and add the mushrooms but I didn’t here. 🙂 Number two, is I didn’t use any fresh rosemary. Why? Well the honest answer is I didn’t have any, not even the dry stuff, and I didn’t want to go out and get it. Number three is that I thought it was a strange thing to ask people to buy a can of whole tomatoes and then puree them in the blender. I mean, if you’re going to buy whole tomatoes why not ACTUALLY BUY whole tomatoes people! So that’s what I did. I believe it took about 5 to 6 REAL whole tomatoes to make the required 28 ounces. I simply put them in the blender and it worked wonderfully well! But I won’t think less of you or talk about you behind your back if you decide to do the whole buying of the canned whole tomatoes thing. So do whatever floats your boat on that issue.
Now my reasons for buying actual whole tomatoes rather than the canned whole tomatoes is that first of all it’s more natural that way. They don’t naturally grow in cans and so I’d rather not use them that way. Also, for those of you who are aware of the whole BPA issue (usually found in plastic ware, etc) you might not know that it’s also found in cans. Most notably cans that have acidic foods in them like…well, I don’t know…maybe TOMATOES! It’s a fact actually.
You can safely buy vegetable in cans that aren’t lined with BPA but you have to usually buy organic to get that AND read the label. Companies that use BPA-free cans will tell you on the can because very few actually do it in the first place and it costs them more to produce the BPA-free cans so trust me they want you to know about it.
Now when it comes to BPA-free cans for tomato products it can’t be done. Because of the acid in the tomatoes they have to use cans lined with BPA in order to keep the cans from corroding. They don’t have a solution for that yet and if they do it probably costs way more than anyone is willing to pay including organic companies. You can however buy whole tomatoes in those milk-carton-like containers. There’s a Italian brand called POMI and that type of packaging is safe. If you want to know more about BPA in canned products just do an internet search and you’ll find more info than you probably wanted to know but it’s out there.
Now I’ll get off my health talk and get back to the White Bean And No-Mushroom Stew. Here are the ingredients:
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 lb cremini mushrooms, quartered (if you’re one of those fungi loving people) 🙂
1/2 cup white wine
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes, pureed in a blender (or about 5 or 6 whole tomatoes pureed)
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
2 cups cooked white beans (equivalent to one 16-oz can), drained
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion, celery, and carrots until tender, about 8 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add mushrooms (if using), and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Deglaze with wine, scraping up any brown bits with a wooden spoon.
- Add tomatoes, rosemary, beans, and 1/2 water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a drizzle of oil.
For the white wine I used a 1/2 cup of Barefoot Muscato wine which gave the stew a nice sweet smell and flavor though you can use whatever white wine you want. I am sure it will come out yummy no matter what you choose. I chose the Muscato because I had some small bottles of them in my refrigerator and I didn’t really want to open a whole big bottle of white wine just for this recipe. Usually I would probably use a nice Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio but like I said I didn’t feel like drinking white that night.
Also, I prefer to make my own beans from dry. There are several reasons for this too. 1, it’s way more economical than buying them in cans and 2, well there’s those pesky bad cans again. So it saves you money and helps protect your health. I don’t think I need any more reasons than that.
I found this stew to be really tasty and flavorful even without the mushrooms. I topped the stew with some Parmesan cheese and parsley flakes and served it with a nice field greens salad and multi-grain garlic bread. I would definitely make this one again. Enjoy!
I found this recipe for Senegalese Stew in the October 2011 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. I admit to never having heard of it before but the use of couscous and nut butter in a meal was attractive to me.
As usual I made some changes to the recipe. The first one being converting it from a meat recipe to a vegetarian one. That was really simple, I just replaced the ground beef in the recipe with Gardien’s Beefless Tips. You could uses any other meat substitute as well. I know that the people who make Boca Burgers also have a ground beef-type thing as well. I just chose the Beefless Tips because I had a package of them in my freezer and was itching to try them. This recipe was made for it.
The other thing I changed was the use of peanut butter. I am not a big peanut butter fan. I do, however, LOVE almond butter and I personally believe that it’s a lot healthier than peanut butter for numerous reasons but that’s another story. So I replace the peanut butter with almond butter. Everything else I basically left the same as the recipe.
The resulting meal was really rich, hearty and enjoyable. Your taste buds are inundated with tastes of tomato, almond butter, and hot red pepper but none of the flavors overwhelm or compete with each other. They all just get along nicely. I really enjoyed this meal and so did Matt. It will probably be one that I put in the regular meal rotation in our household.
Try it and let me know what you think. If you improve or change anything tell me what you did so I can try it too. 🙂