Thursday, 1 April 2010

Leftovers for lunch

I am trying my best to be far more strict when it comes to using up the food in my fridge, rather than being lured into supermarkets to splash out on fresh goods.

Being a creature of habit, I always have the same sorry items left at the bottom of the fridge and hidden at the back of the cupboard so, on a rainy day last week, I found myself trying to do something imaginative with 5 tomatoes, an onion, 3 carrots and several tins of beans!

Unlikely as it sounds I did manage it, and knocked up what I am calling "3 bean stew" in just under an hour. This dish owes its success to good stock, lots of spices, red wine and some very fresh bay leaves. I froze the majority of it and it made a great accompaniment to meat and fish dishes on lazy days when I just wanted to heat something up rather than cook from scratch. This dish is also amazingly cheap, I imagine that if I had gone and bought the ingredients it would have cost under £4.

3 bean stew (to be eaten piping hot with lots of sour cream or to accompany a more substantial meal)

5 large tomatoes (although you could definitely use more, ideally 7)
1 onion
2 carrots
1 tin kidney beans
1 tin berlotti beans
1 tin white means
Vegetable stock (500 ml)
Tomato puree (if desired)
Splash of red wine
2 bay leaves
Mild chilli powder
Mixed herbs

Thinly slice the onion and crush the garlic
Fry in plenty of olive oil until onion is soft
Add tomatoes, quartered and carrots, peeled and sliced
Continue to fry over gentle heat until the tomatoes are softening
Pour over stock
Add bay leaves, chilli powder (1 tsp) and herbs
Place on lid and leave until tomatoes are soft and stock is reducing, about 25 minutes
Add tomato puree if required and splash of red wine
Drain beans and add them, try not to stir often as it will break the beans
Return lid to pot and leave for further ten minutes

The stew should be thick and dense with the beans, season and devour.


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