Catalan Bean Stew
Catalan Bean Stew
2 dried red or brown chiles, such as pasilla or New Mexican reds, or 1 tablespoon Spanish or Hungarian sweet paprika
6 cups vegetable broth
2 medium onion, peeled and quartered
4 ripe tomatoes
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 slices country-style white bread
3 parsnips or carrots, diced
1 potato, peeled and diced
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 cups cooked fava beans or lima beans
1 cup cooked corn kernels
2 tablespoons sherry wine or to taste
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Tear the chiles in half and remove the stems and seeds. Soak the chiles in the stock for 1 hour or until soft. If using paprika, dissolve it in the stock. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place the onions and tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil and roast them for 20 minutes. Add the garlic and continue roasting for 20 minutes, or until the garlic is soft and the onions are golden brown. Darkly toast the bread in a toaster.
3. Transfer the chiles to a blender with a slotted spoon, reserving the stock. Add the onions, tomatoes, garlic, and toast and puree until smooth, adding stock as necessary to obtain a thick paste. Note: A blender works better than a food processor for this purpose.
4. Transfer the chile mixture to a large, nonstick frying pan and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in the reserved stock, parsnips, and potatoes and half the parsley and cook, uncovered, stirring often, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender. The recipe can be prepared ahead to this stage.
5. Stir in the fava beans, corn, sherry, and vinegar and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the beans and corn are thoroughly heated. Correct the seasoning, adding salt, sherry, or vinegar to taste. The mixture should be highly seasoned. If the stew is too thick, add a little more stock. If too thin, simmer the stew, uncovered, to evaporate the excess liquid.
6. Transfer the stew to a bowl or platter and sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Rice or polenta would make a nice accompaniment.
Adapted from The Tra Vigne Cookbook, by Michael Chiarello