Thursday, March 30, 2017

Cruciferous Three-Bean Stew with Kale (No Added Fat)

I had soaked three kinds of beans to make a main course, but I hadn't decided what the dish would be. At the coop today, they had organic cauliflower on clearance. I like how cauliflower cooks down quickly under pressure and can form a thick gravy-like matrix for other ingredients. Though only a few minutes would be needed, I thought I'd cook the cauliflower along with the beans for 25 minutes. Here is what I did.

  • 1/3 cup each: Anasazi, and Flageolet beans, rinsed and soaked overnight (or rinsed and then soaked in boiling water for 3-5 hours), then rinsed again
  • Enough water to just cover beans
  • Florets from small or medium head of cauliflower (large florets quartered)
  • 1/4 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t garam masala
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 2 white mushrooms cut into 1/4" thick slices, each slice then halved
  • Approx. 1/2 cup onion diced to approx. 3/8" cubes
  • 5-6 leaves kale, roughly hand torn into approx. 1/2" squares, stems excepted
  • 1t finely (1/8") diced ginger
  • 2t lemon juice (I used organic Meyer lemon)
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) salt
  • (optional) 1/4 t kala namak ("black salt" that is actually pink in color)
  • 1/8 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  1. I put the beans, cumin, garam masala, turmeric, water, mushroom (the only reason I used mushroom as it was also on clearance at the store), and cauliflower into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 25m.
  2. After the cooking was done, I would have waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then opened, but I was out at an appointment, so my wife helped herself after mixing in the remaining ingredients. (I should have used garlic but we're out - so used garlic powder; the ginger I added when I got home as my daughter doesn't like ginger, but I'd have preferred to cook the ginger with the dish.)

We had some broccoli that had to be used up, so I served a large "tree" on the side, hence the "cruciferous" title to the meal, since both broccoli and cauliflower were used.

Dinner was good but needed some tweaking. Initially, it was a bit soupy, but the kale (actually, I just added the kale when I came home, so her serving didn't have it) brought it together and cooked enough in the remaining heat to satisfy. It also was a bit bland, but the salt and, at the table, hot sauce, brought it alive.

Ideas for the future

I was surprised that the cauliflower didn't totally turn into a mushy backdrop. I guess that cauliflower pressure cooks down quickly in a few minutes and doesn't soften further. That was fine but worth noting. If I do want a softer cauliflower, I need to remember in the future to gently press down or even blend before serving. I should explore more multi-bean dishes and come up with more ways to get the meal to shine, such as maybe using caramelized onion, capers, or maybe olives.

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