Friday, October 15, 2010

Pea and Bean Stew

With the cooler weather coming in, it's great to have a hearty dish that can be whipped up in under 1/2 hour.  A few weeks ago I was given a jar of Feisty Mama Medium Salsa.  I had never tried the salsa before, because I don't eat raw onions and garlic, but the owner of Feisty Mama is a collegue of mine, and I use salsa sometimes to save time in cooking, so I was thrilled to receive a jar from her.  Before I put anything in my cooking, though, I always taste it straight out of the jar.  Let me say, that I was bowled over by the fresh taste of this jarred salsa, that tasted like someone had just made it.  Kudos to you, Debra, for coming up with a recipe and technique to make this salsa so refreshing and fresh-tasting.  If I ate salsa and chips, I would get on that website and order a case! 

You can see from the label that the salsa is all natural, and fat free.

If you plan on cooking with salsa, you need to use at least the medium hot kind, and even the hot, if you want the spice to shine through when you are done cooking.  I prefer, not spicy, so the medium worked fine for me. 

In this "chili" type stew, I used frozen baby peas, frozen baby lima beans and canned kidney beans.  I loved this mix because the canned kidney beans are soft and velvety, while the lima beans are firm and a little grainy, and the peas, which were barely cooked, sort of pop in your mouth.  The mix was terrific.   To make the stew spicier, you can add more salsa, use the hot salsa, or you can add the salsa just before serving to preserve the spicy taste.  These are all variations you can use to make the stew the way you like it, and after all, that's part of the point of cooking something yourself!

Here are all of my ingredients: 
For 6 servings
2 jars of tomato sauce
1/2 cup Feisty Mama Medium Salsa
1 cup canned kidney beans, drained
1/2 - 1 cup of canned pumpkin ( in the baking aisle, but make sure it isn't filling that contains brown sugar, etc)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup frozen baby lima beans
1 cup frozen baby peas
1/4 raisins
water, as needed

In a medium saucepan, combine the tomato sauce, salsa, kidney beans, pumpkin (adding the larger amount makes it thicker and sweeter) and spices. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the lima beans, cover and cook for 6 minutes.  Add the baby peas and raisins, and cook for 3 minutes.  Serve immediately, or refrigerate and serve within 5 days. If you want the stew to be thicker, you can always boil it uncovered until it is thick enough.  If you want it thinner, add some water.  The stew gets thicker as it sits, and up to 1/2 cup water may need to be added.  It also gets milder as it sits, so take that into consideration.  I like it best the day after I make it.

We like the stew served over brown rice, with cheese and sour cream, or in tortillas.  I thin it a little for the rice variation, and leave it thick when using for tortillas.

No comments: