Scroll down to the recipe and you’ll see the reason for this post’s title…
There’s a fair bit of chopping involved to get Fat Tuesday’s Skinny Red Beans on the table. But sometimes, perversely, that’s exactly what I want to do – stand at the kitchen counter and do a bit of slicing and dicing for a while, letting my brain wander… (not too far, though – I’d like to keep all my fingers and thumbs). It can be an extremely relaxing and satisfying activity – which is the order of the day after all the recent seasonal mayhem.
Edward Espe Brown has a great quote about the mediative nature of chopping veg – I must go and look it up. And I can heartily recommend the sound advice offered by Shauna over at Gluten-Free Girl about how to chop an onion. This is going to sound silly but it turns out I’ve been doing it wrong all these years. I bet I’ll never be able to do it as quickly as the Chef, although I’m one heck of a lot better at it than I used to be 🙂
Anyhoo, once you’ve accumulated a multi-coloured mountain of diced veggies (just looking at them makes you feel healthier – if only that translated into reality, eh?), this dish is a snap to put together – just a bit of pushing round in the pan, some simmering and you’re ready to curl up with a big bowl of something comforting while you watch the weather report on the TV. In fact, as I type this, it’s just starting to snow…
Fat Tuesday’s Skinny Red Beans from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favourites
Serves 4 to 6
2 cups chopped onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell peppers (red, green, yellow, orange or a combination)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
pinch of cayenne, or more to taste
3 cups chopped fresh or canned tomatoes (or two 400g tins)
1½ cups cooked or canned kidney beans (one 400g tin – although I often throw in two tins’ worth)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup fresh or frozen sliced okra (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley or minced spring onions
1. Combine the onions, garlic and olive oil in a large pot with a heavy base. Cover and cook on a medium heat for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened.
2. Add the carrots, celery, peppers, oregano, thyme, basil, marjoram and cayenne. Cover and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.
3. When the veggies are just tender, stir in the tomatoes, kidney beans, mustard, brown sugar and okra (if you want it). Simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with rice/crusty bread/cornbread and topped with parsley or spring onions.
This is a great ‘make a big batch for the freezer’ recipe – it’s easy to multiply up and it’s one of those rare dishes that actually tastes just as good, if not better, after a while in the big chill.