We have had very strange weather….sunny and warm, veggies are planted, then the very next day Cold, Grey, and Rainy….hope my garden does not drown!  So with this weather, came a craving for a vegetarian stew.
This is a nutrient packed, hearty, and tasty vegetarian stew.  In researching the nutrient value of the lovely Adzuki Bean, what I have found states, this wee little bean is packed in the highest protein, lowest level of fat than that of most beans.  Loaded in Vitamins, particularly B’s, also contains nutrients to help with Calcium absorption, magnesium, as well as benefiting the intestines and kidneys.  And great in lowering bad cholesterol levels…..these are just a few of the benefits….so I urge you to check out this lovely bean, and do some research too.  If you find out any other information, and would like to share, please do!
Combined with lots of vegetables, brown rice cooked in homemade Vegetable stock….not only is this very tasty, the health benefits are plenty! In fact, this was the best Vegetarian Stew I have ever had…and I’ve made lots!
½ cup Adzuki Beans
1 ½ cups water
1 Bay leaf
¼  cup brown rice
¾ - 1 cup homemade Vegetable Stock
Olive oil
1 large diced onion
5 minced garlic cloves
6-8 sliced organic crimini mushrooms (shitake would add even more nutrients if you can get them)
2 diced carrots
1 diced celery, with leaves
½ diced green pepper
1 bunch of minced green:  Kale, chard, spinach, or collard green
1 medium sized cubed orange yam – cut into about 1 inch pieces
1 zucchini – cut in half, then quartered, and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 28 oz. Can whole tomatoes
1 cup mashed organic firm tofu – optional, (I just had it on hand so threw that in too)
2  Tblsp. Chilli powder
1 rounded tsp. Cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
grated aged cheddar cheese
Begin by cooking the Adzuki Beans in the water and bay leaf, covered on a simmer, for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Some recipes say to soak the beans over night, others say you do not have to.  I did not soak them, and mine took about 1 hour to cook through, but still hold a nice shape.
As well, cook up the brown rice in the vegetable stock, about 40-45 minutes.  Once the beans are cooked, drain any excess water, place in a bowl and set aside.  And once the rice is cooked, remove from heat and set aside.
Heat up a saute pan with a few drizzles of olive oil on medium heat, add in the mushrooms, sautéing until nicely browned.  Turn the heat to low medium, and add in the onion and garlic, sautéing to sweat out.  You may need a bit more olive oil added to the pan. Then add in the celery, carrots, green pepper, again sautéing about 5 minutes.  Pour in the canned tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon, add in the greens and seasonings, stirring to combine.  Turn down to a low simmer, lid on and cook until the vegetables are cooked through. About 30-40 minutes, for all the flavors to infuse.
Add in the yams and zucchini stirring to combine,(you may need to add a splash or two of extra Vegetable stock if it is too thick) adjust seasonings, lid back on at a low simmer until the yams and zucchini are cooked through.  Then add in the rice and Adzuki Beans to heat through.  Remove from heat, adding in the handful of chopped cilantro.
Serve with grated cheddar cheese on top…so tasty!  Wow this exceeded my expectations for a Vegetarian Stew.

Ina Gawne

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May 28, 2010