This hearty stew is a typical cold-weather dish in the Basque country of Spain.
Delicious and substantial, the benefits of beans combine beautifully here with the vitamins and anti-oxidants of peppers and flavorful iron-rich leeks to make a tasty stew that is as good to eat as it is good for you.
This recipe includes a great tip for getting your beans to soften as they cook!
2 pounds dried white beans
1 leek, well-washed and halved lengthwise
1 green pepper, halved and seeded
1 red bell pepper, halved and seeded
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon paprika
1. In a large pot or bowl, combine the beans with enough cold water to cover them by 1 to 2 inches. Soak the beans for at least 8 hours. Drain them, and transfer them to a stockpot.
2. Add the leek and peppers to the pot, and then add enough cold water to cover the vegetables by 2 to 3 inches. Bring the contents to a boil over high heat, and cook rapidly for 2 to 3 minutes, skimming any foam from the surface. Reduce the heat, and simmer gently for about 2 hours, adding about 1/4 cup cold water to the pot every 30 minutes (this softens the beans). The beans are done when they are fork-tender.
3. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and saute for about 10 minutes, until the onion is soft. Add the paprika, and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes longer, until the mixture is well blended. Add it to the beans.
4. Remove the leeks and peppers from the beans, if you prefer, and discard them. Season the stew to taste with salt. Reheat the stew gently, if necessary. Ladle into shallow soup bowls, and serve.
Adapted from The Basque Table, by Teresa Barrenechea (Harvard Common Press, 1998). Copyright (c) 1998 by Teresa Barrenechea. Reprinted by permission of Harvard Common Press.
Adapted from The Basque Table, by Teresa Barrenechea (Harvard Common Press, 1998).