A gale, a festival and a stew…

by Sunita on December 10, 2007

You could hear it… the hoooo of the howling wind and the rain lashing against the window panes. That was the scene in our neck of the woods last Friday night, which continued over the next two days, but, somewhat losing it’s intensity towards the end of the weekend. But we were huddled indoors, nice and warm. The noise outside was diminished to a great extent by the kids’ rehearsing their parts for their school Christmas performance, scheduled for tomorrow… each trying to outdo the other ( especially in the sound department !)

I know it sounds cliched, but it does seem just like yesterday that I was busy readying their costumes for their last year’s performance.

Seeing the kids so enthusiastic about Christmas takes me back to another part of the world- Guwahati, in Assam, which is my birthplace. It takes me back to my Alma mater- my school, where I spent twelve of the best years of my life. It was a convent school and hence, I am quite familiar with the sentiments behind this festival.

December was the end of our school calender . By the first half of this month, our annual exams would be over . On the last day of our exams ( which would always be a half day) we had our Christmas celebrations and the holidays would start from the following day.

I can still remember the Christmas carols that we used to practice , the joy of seeing the ho- hoing Santa …who would usually be one of our Salesian Sisters in costume, and we had a hard time guessing which one (as we were not told in advance) …handing out presents to each of us. The best part of it was when Santa would come with his (or rather’ her’) sack, full of sweets to be thrown in all directions. There used to be such a mad rush for them. The sweets, of course, were nothing like the fancy ones that kids nowadays are used to, but the sheer fun of the scramble , trying to retrieve most of them, made a great treat in themselves .

It also comes to my mind how I used to put up a stocking with great hopes on Christmas eve for Father Christmas to come and fill with goodies….now my kids look forward to Christmas day when they can wake up and open presents…. They are at that idyllic stage where they believe that Santa must have delivered their presents…little do they know that we have been painstakingly wrapping up their gifts and keeping them out of sight … no point in breaking their hopes, anyway! Time will reveal all!!

Before I get carried away, let me dwell on the recipe of the day. It’s a beans and vegetable stew,

…a quite simple and hearty recipe…Here’s how I went about it…

What’s needed-

7-8 handfuls of mixed beans ( I used a mix of black eyed, red kidney, alubia, dutch brown, baby Lima, butter and haricot beans…use as many or fewer ), soaked in enough water for 6-8 hours or overnight
2 tblsp of olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
4 pods of garlic, crushed
2 tblsp of sundried tomato paste
a pinch ( more or less) of chilli powder
4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 carrots, sliced
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tblsp of dried thyme
2 glasses of vegetable stock

How to-

  1. Boil the beans with a little salt in enough water till done, drain and keep aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a deep pan and cook the onions till soft.
  3. Add the garlic, tomato paste, chilli powder and fry for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes,carrots, bay leaves and thyme and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the stock, bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Add the beans and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the beans are heated through…mash a few of the beans if you want to thicken it.
  7. Serve hot on it’s own or with some croutons.

That’s it…a hearty stew is ready to be relished. I served it with some crisp herby croutons…

…and it was very filling indeed. A steaming bowl of this stew was somewhat perfect for the cold and blustery weather that I was talking about at the beginning of this post { and also for using up the remains of this and that bits of beans lying around ;-) }

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

1 bee December 10, 2007 at 11:33 pm
2 sagari December 11, 2007 at 12:04 am

thats a lovely stew looks soo comfortingggg

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3 Laavanya December 11, 2007 at 12:07 am

That stew looks delicious Sunita!!

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4 Red Chillies December 11, 2007 at 12:49 am

Looks awesome and droolworty :-) . I did not know that sundried tomato paste was available.

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5 Kribha December 11, 2007 at 2:22 am

My,What a hearty soup…..! Looks so delicious. I have a pack of mixed beans lying in my pantry for a long time. Now I can make use of it. Thanks for the recipe.

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6 Namratha December 11, 2007 at 3:38 am

Just the right bowl of soup on a chilly rainy day!! I made soup too last night, was really cold here…I would love to have a bowl of your stew right away :)

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7 Nandita December 11, 2007 at 5:13 am

Stews are the best meals for winter, i intend to make yours soon :)

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8 Rachel December 11, 2007 at 6:37 am

Comforting stew for a chilly day!!

My 3 year old is waiting gor her gifts too..She wakes up every morning, checks the tree to see if her gifts have arrived no matter how muhc we try to tell her!!! when there’s nothing at the tree.. she prays to god adding another specification to her already growing list of gifts…

Love your crockery!!

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9 Srivalli December 11, 2007 at 7:50 am

Sunita..that is really a drool worthy picture!..am sure it must’ve tasted great in the season!

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10 Happy cook December 11, 2007 at 7:52 am

Look delicious. Can use the bread to soak up yhe sauve ;-)

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11 sunita December 11, 2007 at 9:45 am

Bee, thanks for the link :-)

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12 sunita December 11, 2007 at 9:46 am

sagari, thanks..it did comfort us on a cold night :-)

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13 sunita December 11, 2007 at 9:47 am

laavanya, thanks…glad you dropped by…

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14 sunita December 11, 2007 at 9:49 am

red chillies, thanks…you can also make your own by soaking the sundried tomatoes in a little hot water and then grinding to a paste.

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15 sunita December 11, 2007 at 9:50 am

kribha, thanks and you’re most welcome…you better get those beans out now :-D

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16 VegeYum @ A Life (Time) of Cooking December 11, 2007 at 9:51 am

hi sunita, this looks so very delicious. Love all the beans in it. VegeYum

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17 sunita December 11, 2007 at 9:51 am

namratha, it is getting really cold now…have you posted your soup?…I wish I could really offer you some of mine :-)

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18 sunita December 11, 2007 at 9:52 am

nandita, do give it a try, we loved it.

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19 sunita December 11, 2007 at 9:54 am

rachel, thanks…my children are a few years ahead, so at least they are waiting for the actual day… but, it was the same as your 3 year old when mine were at that age.

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20 sunita December 11, 2007 at 9:58 am

srivalli, thanks..we did love it a lot…a comforting dish.

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21 sunita December 11, 2007 at 9:59 am

vege yum, thanks…we did adore it indeed :-)

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22 Sandeepa December 11, 2007 at 1:39 pm

That really looks like a very comforting stew. Let us know about their performance

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23 Shilpa December 11, 2007 at 2:55 pm

Wow..that looks great. We are having a hard winter here. One bowl of this superb stew is what I can ask for :D . I make something similar but I use marinara sauce and white beans. I think including assorted beans is a great idea.

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24 Swaroopa December 11, 2007 at 3:34 pm

looks gr8!! very healthy treat too…

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25 Mishmash ! December 11, 2007 at 3:48 pm

Looks so good , may be i will have a bowl of that now :)
Can imagine ur kids excitement of seeing the stockings filled with goodies:)

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26 Vanamala December 11, 2007 at 5:18 pm

Sunita wow lovely dish….

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27 sunita December 11, 2007 at 8:40 pm

Sandeepa, it was comforting indeed…will report on their performance soon :-)

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28 sunita December 11, 2007 at 8:44 pm

shilpa, thanks…we usually do not face very severe weather in our neck of the woods, but the temperatures have really started to drop….as for the stew, yes, the assortment of beans does give an assortment of taste in every spoonful :-)

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29 sunita December 11, 2007 at 8:45 pm

swaroopa, thanks…glad you dropped by.

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30 sunita December 11, 2007 at 8:46 pm

Shn, thanks…wish I could really hand some over to you…and yes, the kids are counting down the days.

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31 sunita December 11, 2007 at 8:47 pm

vanamala, thanks…nice to have you over.

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32 Mansi Desai December 12, 2007 at 12:04 am

that looks very healthy and perfect for the einter Sunita!

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33 Kajal December 12, 2007 at 2:06 am

WOW….you presented mouth watering dish and healthy too. Nice combination of all type of beans. I like you add toast in top looks nice my dear. :) )

I am little busy after finished my diwali vacation so I am coming back my dear. I miss your event but not this time.:))

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34 Meera December 12, 2007 at 4:09 am

Wow! The soup looks so delicious!

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35 Jyothsna December 12, 2007 at 6:59 am

Looks comforting for the winter!

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36 Miri December 12, 2007 at 7:48 am

I love stews and find most recipes too bland for my taste – this one will be just right! Thanks , looks delicious and i will try it soon to keep my cold weather at bay (no comparison to yours, but I hate it all the same!)

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37 RAKS KITCHEN December 12, 2007 at 10:22 am

Looks very nice and such a nutricious stew!

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38 sunita December 12, 2007 at 1:27 pm

mamnsi, thanks…we did love it a lot..what with the dropping temperatures.

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39 sunita December 12, 2007 at 1:29 pm

kajal, thanks and nice to have you back…do join in when you can.

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40 sunita December 12, 2007 at 1:30 pm

jyothsna, thnaks…it was indee hearty and comforting at the same time.

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41 sunita December 12, 2007 at 1:32 pm

miri, thanks…I hope you’ll love it as much as we did…the last two days have been really cold out here…take care.

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42 sunita December 12, 2007 at 1:33 pm

raks kitchen, thanks…glad you dropped by.

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43 Toffeeapple December 14, 2007 at 4:59 pm

I made this last night for my solo dinner and enjoyed it tremendously. I have enough left for lunch tomorrow as well, yippee!

Thank you Sunita.

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44 vegeyum December 14, 2007 at 11:22 pm

This looks so-o-o-o-o-o go-o-o-od. I am into beans at the moment, having done a borlotti beans post. That is where my mind is. So when I saw your soup, I am drooling.

Might have to wait till winter tho. We are well into summer here.

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45 sunita December 14, 2007 at 11:36 pm

toffeeapple, nice to see you here again…I’m so glad you liked the recipe…

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46 sunita December 14, 2007 at 11:38 pm

vegeyum, thanks…we did enjoy it… save it for the right time :-)

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