This Chipotle Black Bean Stew is about as simple as healthy comfort food gets. It’s one of those dishes that you just throw everything in to a pan and let it bubble away, and let the delicious smells fill your kitchen. It’s also really easy to adapt, to suit all tastes.
Whilst we are still in the depth of winter, with no change in sight (6 more weeks of winter if you believe Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog), a hearty and warming stew like this is much needed. You have a kick of spice from the chipotle, a smokiness from the paprika and above all, the black beans give it a creaminess that you crave in a comforting dish.
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Last month, we went to the Lake district for my birthday and whilst the highlights were obviously the lakes (it would have been a bit disappointing if it wasn’t right?), the food was a definitely contender. Whilst we indulged in a few pub lunches in quaint little village pubs, the kind that have one man and his dog propping up the bar, discovering a little vegetarian cafe in the town of Ambleside was also a highlight of the trip I wasn’t expecting.
I will happily eat a vegetarian dish, but I guess I am usually one of those people that think “oooh, this would be really good with some pulled pork on it”. But that wasn’t an option in this cafe, so I went with the black bean stew. There is not a single thing that I would have changed about it, apart from double the portion because it was that good! It was just the comforting bowl of food that was needed after a long winter walk, but not so stodgy that you felt like 10lbs heavier after it.
Being the foodies that we are, we spent a good quarter of our journey back home guessing what the ingredients in the stew were. In fact, we vowed to try making it ourselves the next day. We kept to our promise and made a big batch of black bean stew the next day, but put some chipotle in ours, because we are firm believers that everything is better with chipotle. And salted caramel, but I don’t think that would work too well with this dish. *ponders*.
Whilst it wasn’t exactly the same as what we tasted in that cafe, because we are pretty convinced that they used a lot of sugar in it to get it to taste like that, this one is pretty close.
Since Dannii has been Vegan (3 weeks and counting), we have been cooking with and eating a lot of black beans. Before, we only really had them in Mexican restaurants, but we have really been missing out. Black beans might just be the best bean there is! I know, that’s a bold statement, but I stand by it. They have a serious creaminess to them, which makes them ideal for vegan dishes, because you don’t need to add any cheese.
Although you don’t need to add any cheese, we have recently discovered vegan feta and whilst we were a little skeptical to begin with, as feta is definitely in the top 5 cheeses, we were seriously impressed. It has the same creaminess that you want from feta, it is just missing the saltines. Not bad for a vegan substitute though.
Chipotle Black Bean Stew Ingredients – Serves 4:
– 1 onion, finely chopped
– 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
– 2 cans of black beans, rinsed
– 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
– Half a tbsp spoon cumin seeds
– Half a tbsp smoked paprika
– 1 tbsp dried oregano
– A pinch of sea salt and black pepper
– 2 tbsp chipotle en adobo
– 60ml white wine vinegar
– 2 tbsp maple syrup (or brown sugar)
– 1 tbsp tomato puree
1) Heat a tbsp of olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic and gently cook for 3-4 minutes until softened
2) Add the cumin, paprika, oregano and salt and pepper and mix well.
3) Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well until combined.
4) Simmer for 2 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
5) Serve the Chipotle Black Bean Stew on rice and top with tomato, spring onion and vegan feta.
Nutritional Information – per person (for black bean stew only):
Weight Watchers SmartPoints: 4.5