{guest post} “It’s 5:30 and I Haven’t Started Dinner Yet” Stew

March 7, 2011

White Bean Stew

I know it’s a little strange to have another guest post given that I’ve been back from vacation — and posting — for almost a week. But I couldn’t miss the opportunity to host Debbie of Words to Eat By. That’s how much I love her. (Well, actually, I love her more that that: I wish I was hosting her for coffee in my house right now, but having her post here on One Hungry Mama will do for the moment!) For those of you who don’t know her, Debbie is a wonderful food writer with a passion for whole food and focus on families. But don’t mistake Debbie’s recipes for kids food. A girl after my own heart, she serves up straight up good eats that just happen to have a focus on what works best for families, babies included. She’s also funny and makes a mean chocolate chip cookie. ‘Nuff said. Now it’s her turn…

Did you ever have one of those days? You know the type: One minute it’s, oh, 2:30 in the afternoon, and you think to yourself I’ve got plenty of time to plan dinner. Next thing you know, three hours have passed and you’ve got absolutely no idea what to cook and your husband’s leaving to pick up your four-year-old from his playdate and you’re tempted to tell him to pick up a pizza while he’s at it.

Next time you have one of those days, pull out this recipe.

I was turned on to it by one of the group of moms who’s testing recipes for my cookbook, Parents Need to Eat Too. For the last few weeks I’ve been working on a chapter filled with recipes and tips for WOHMs (if you are one, you’ll recognize the acronym). Since I’m not one myself—I work from home—I asked my crew to send me their tried and true last-minute recipes. The responses included a link to an Epicurious recipe for Fast White Bean Stew, with some notes on the woman’s adaptations. She told me it takes about 15 minutes to throw together. Did I need to know more? I think not.

So yup, you guessed it. Today I had one of those days. And this recipe saved me. In the time it took for my husband to pick up and bring home our son, I cooked dinner. I’ve made my own adaptations, as is my wont, and I must say it’s mighty tasty. One itty-bitty half-teaspoon of smoked paprika makes for a lot of flavor.

Bonus: Harry, my deliciously challenging eater, actually ate a mouthful. It was a big night.

Fast White Beans & Greens Stew, Adapted from Epicurious
Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, diced fairly small (so they’ll cook quickly)
1 cup canned diced tomatoes (I use POMI brand, which comes in boxes — BPA-free!)
6 slow-roasted tomato halves
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I used my Overnight Chicken Soup, but low-sodium canned is fine)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt & pepper
Two 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (I use Trader Joe’s, which are also BPA-free)
Several handfuls of baby greens — spinach, arugula, pretty much anything as long as it’s tender and green
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Cooked white or brown rice

1. Put the olive oil in a large saucepan or small Dutch oven over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the garlic and carrots. Stir and let that cook for about 3 minutes, until the carrots soften a bit.

2. Add both kinds of tomatoes, the broth, the paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for as little as 3 and as much as 15 minutes (too long and the beans will begin to fall apart).

3. Add the greens and simmer just until they’re wilted. Remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice, and serve over rice.

MAKE BABY FOOD: Texturally, this is terrific for early eaters. You can puree some if you like, mash with a fork, or serve as finger food.

5 Responses

  1. Tracy says:

    This looks so good! I think I might make it tonight!

  2. stacey says:

    love this! and the whole idea — in fact i recently asked all the parents on my e-mail tree to send me their tried-and-true workhouse weekday recipes…

    but what does she mean by “when it SHIMMERS”?

  3. Stacey, you know how when you’re heating oil in a skillet, it starts to ripple across the pan after a while? That’s what I mean by “shimmer”–it’s a visual cue that it’s hot enough but not too hot.

  4. anna says:

    confused – when do you put the beans in? W/ tomatoes?

    Sounds great! Thank you!!

  5. I just made a version of this last night but on a bed of spaghetti squash and using half of these ingredients. Experiment and make it your own! It really is easy and super DELISH! Thanks for the new ideas.


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