Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Meatless Monday with Mindy #14 Vegetable Bean Stew

Welcome to the 14th installment of Meatless Monday with Mindy!

This weekend was Mothers Day and traditionally I've always taken this day to garden with my children, and now with my honey. Often times a trip to a local nursery would be the big highlight of the day, then we would come home and plant the treasures we acquired. Living in the Midwest since 1987, we could be certain that by Mothers Day we were safe to plant without the threat of frost.

Not so this weekend!

We had lots of cold wind during the day with over cast skies. And for the past 2 nights we've had to cover up my spring garden of lettuces, spinach, peas and the herbs and strawberries that have come back on their own to prevent frost from burning them. Brrrr! 

Because Monday was such a blustery cold day, I was in the mood for some good ole comfort food. At first I thought I would make a soup, but when I started browsing my books, stews kept catching my attention and sounding really good. One of the many cookbooks on our bookshelves we've had since we first got married ...over 30 years ago!  It's a Better Homes and Gardens book simply called "Soups & Stews".  It's one of those good ones I refer to over and over again that has stains on the yellowed pages and notes jotted, you know...one of those keepers.  I was on the hunt for a recipe that I could tweak to make meatless and found one called Basic Stew. It of course called for stew beef as well as beef broth, but most of the other ingredients were already vegetarian or easily convertible.  So, here is my vegetarian take on a basic stew.

Vegetable Bean Stew

1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of salt (optional)
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish or mustard (I used horseradish)
1/2 teaspoon of your favorite dried herb (I used basil)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
16 oz of vegetable broth
5 cups fresh vegetables cut into 1-inch pieces ( I used potato, carrot, celery, turnip and onion)
1 15 oz can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup cold water
2 Tablespoons flour ( I make a flour mix using whole wheat, buckwheat and white flours)
1 cup coarsely chopped spinach

In a large saucepan pour in the vegetable broth. Add the garlic, bay leaf, prepared horseradish, salt if using, dried herb, and pepper.  

Stir this together and bring to a boil.  Add the chopped vegetables, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the veggies are tender.

Stir in the kidney beans and continue cooking until the beans are heated through.

Blend the water and flour together then stir into the stew. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.  Remove the bay leaf and stir in the chopped spinach.

Serve this comfort food right away with a slice of bread and enjoy.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to hear back on how you liked it, or tweaked it to make it your own.

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