I find Tasteologie to be a great source of inspiration when I get tired of old favourites and want to try something new. That is how I found Tasty Yummies' recipe for Chipotle Black Bean and Quinoa Crock-Pot Stew. I generally avoid recipes for slow cooker because I don't have one, but it was impossible not to be intrigued when I saw the picture. As much as I would have loved to follow the recipe entirely I had to make a few adjustments. I couldn't find chipotles in my area and so I used smoked paprika instead, I also forgot to buy quinoa and added more vegetables because I'm used to having lots of them in a stew. This dish is incredibly delicious - it's hearty, spicy and wonderfully aromatic. The rich taste lingers in the mouth long after eating.
Smoky Black Bean Stew
- 500 g dried black beans, picked over
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 carrot
- 1 red onion
- 1/3 celeriac
- 1 can (400 g/14 oz) chopped tomatoes
- 3 garlic cloves, mashed or grated
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 cinnamon stick (6-7 cm)
- 1 tsp chili powder (I used Kashmiri chili powder)
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large glass bowl rinse the beans in cold water and drain. Add water to cover them, at least twice their volume. Soak overnight. If possible discard the soaking water at least once and add clean water. Give them one final rinse and drain.
In a large pot on medium-high heat add the beans and enough water to cover them by 5cm/2". Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover with a lid and let simmer for about an hour until they become tender but not mushy. Scoop out and discard the foam that forms in the beginning of cooking. Stir once in a while.
While the beans are cooking, prepare your vegetables. I used medium-sized ones. Roughly chop the peppers, carrot and celeriac and finely chop the onion.
When the beans are ready, add the chopped vegetables, the aromatics and enough water to barely cover everything. Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the chopped tomatoes and let cook for another 10 minutes. Adjust the salt if needed. You might need to cook it uncovered for the last few minutes if it's not thick enough.
Serve plain or with chopped fresh coriander and spring onions.
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This dish is not only very tasty, it is also highly nutritious. Black beans are packed with nutrients. They have the highest level of antioxidants among legumes and provide an excellent combination of protein and fiber (15 g each per cup of boiled beans). Thanks to the soluble fiber and slow-burning complex carbohydrates, the energy is released at a slower rate, thus preventing spikes in blood sugar and keeping one full for longer. Fiber is important in weight management, lowering cholesterol and improving digestion.
Black beans are a low calorie, low fat, low sodium food with zero cholesterol and a low glycemic index. They are a great source of minerals, especially magnesium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, copper and to a lower extent calcium and zinc. They also provide significant amounts of folate and thiamin.
Soaking the beans prior to cooking helps reduce flatulence caused by the oligosaccharides present in their skin. These are complex carbohydrates that cannot be digested and make it to the large intestine mostly intact, where they are fermented by bacteria, thus producing gas. Soaking helps loosen the skin and allows sugars to dissolve in water. Discarding the soaking water gets rid of these sugars, as well as some of the phytates and tannins in the skin which can lower nutrient absorption.
Tips to better digest beans and reduce gas formation
- Soak and cook beans thoroughly. Undercooked beans can cause more gas.
- Eat beans regularly to help build the body's ability to digest them, starting with small meals and gradually increasing the amount.
- Scoop out and discard the foam created during boiling.
- Add anti-gas foods like garlic, ginger or spices such as cumin and fennel.
- Add salt towards the end of cooking to prevent the skin from remaining hard.
- Do not combine beans with high-fat foods as that will slow down digestion and cause discomfort and more gas.
- Eat beans for lunch, between 12 and 2 pm when digestion is at its peak.
- Allow enough time for their digestion before eating other foods (1.5 - 2 hours).
- Chew food thoroughly and eat slowly. Saliva contains amylase, a digestive enzyme necessary for breaking down starch into sugars.
- Exercise to improve blood circulation.
- Make sure to get enough calcium and magnesium from the diet in order to maintain muscle tone.
In a previous post I shared the Butternut Squash Chickpea Curry, another recipe by Tasty Yummies that I tried and came out amazing.
Enjoy the stew and spread the magic!:)
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