This Cajun Style Red Kidney Beans is fast becoming one of my favourite vegan suitable recipes. It’s earthy, juicy, sweetish but not overly so with a good range of flavours emanating from the spices and herbs. Nothing too overwhelming but well balanced.
Have to say that I would love to be using fresh parsley and thyme. Until my pots on the inside of my south-facing window start growing I’ll have to use dried. Okay, I can buy fresh thyme, which I will do the next time. Incidentally, of all of the dried herbs oregano apparently tastes almost the same as fresh. Not so with parsley and thyme as the former tends to be a tad sour and the latter a bit too woody for my palate. Which is why I use less of both. The following paragraph was written for the original post.
Previously on Kitschnflavours: This is the recipe I was shopping for when I spied cauliflower at half price – hence my last post. Loosely based on this recipe I’ve added both fresh caramelised tomatoes and purée, partly as I had them to hand and wanted to use them up. I’ve also added several dried herbs and some spice to give this a little more ooomph. It may not be the most photogenic on the plate to photograph. Who cares! Especially with the depth of flavour in this. Next time I’m going with a green jalapeño chilli, cutting off its tip, then slicing thinly until a small aperture is visible which allows the heat to escape. And of course this is both vegetarian and vegan suitable. I’d also like to try this with what we call special fried rice, which is normally egg fried rice with shrimp, pork, chicken and some vegetables seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil that is served in Chinese restaurants and takeaways. Shame I can’t cook with a wok on electric. Or can I?
Cajun Style Red Kidney Beans
- olive oil
- 200g (7.05 oz) x onions, peeled and chopped
- 1 x dried bay leaf, ripped
- 1 – 2 x celery stalks/ribs, washed and cut into small dice
- 1 x medium green jalapeño chilli, washed, tip cut off, then slice carefully and thinly until a small aperture is visible
- 2 – 3 x garlic cloves, peeled and crushed or finely chopped
- 1 x medium aubergine (eggplant), washed, halved and cut into rough slices, immerse them in cold water with a good helping of salt, submerge them by using a weight on top, leave for an hour, drain and refresh with cold water several times and squeeze out excess water – I just use my hands to squeeze out the water
- 1 – 2 x green pepper(s)/capsicum, washed, chargrilled under a hot grill or broiler until the skin is completely blackened, allow to cool before removing the skin, stem and seeds, then chop into smallish dice
- 1 – 2 x heaped tablespoons tomato purée, add 1 tablespoon and allow to infuse into the mixture before adding more (I used 1½)
- 1 x 400g or 240g drained weight (14.10 or 8.46 oz drained) can red kidney beans, thoroughly rinsed
- 1 x beef/beefsteak tomato, about 200g (7.05 oz) or more, washed and cut into quarters OR 5 x salad tomatoes, about 340g, washed and sliced in half
- 1/2 x teaspoon dried parsley OR 1/2 x tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 x teaspoon dried oregano
- up to 1/2 x teaspoon dried thyme OR 1 x large sprig fresh thyme
- 1/2 x teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 x teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 x teaspoon cumin seeds, dry roasted and ground
- 2 x teaspoons coriander seeds, dry roasted and ground
- up to 200ml (0.42 US pt lqd) x water, use less and add more to gain the right consistency
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- Put a large heavy-based saucepan on electric heat No 3 (out of 6), pour in enough oil to coat its base, add the onions, jalapeño chilli and the bay leaf. When onions are beginning to soften I have to reduce heat to No 2. In the meantime prep the celery and add to the onions. Stir through often. When they start to turn pale gold in colour I prep the garlic and reduce the heat to No 1. Onions and celery are pushed to the sides, another glug of oil is added if necessary, then garlic is added where there is space. Several minutes should be long enough to cook out the rawness. Stir everything through and push the mixture to the sides and add the tomato purée and take off heat to prevent scorching as it can cause bitterness. Allow enough time to cook out the rawness of the purée – at least 5 minutes.
- Add the kidney beans after stirring the tomato purée and, again, pushing all to the sides. Put back on low heat for now.
- After draining and rinsing the aubergine pieces squeeze out as much excess water as possible. I did this with my hands rather than using a very clean t-towel (one that has been boiled). Using a large heavy-based saucepan or pan/skillet put on heat No 3. When pan is hot add a little oil and add the aubergine. Shake the pan vigorously, if necessary, to prevent sticking. Continue to cook until nicely golden all over, reducing heat when necessary to No 1. They can take up to an hour to get them absolutely soft to the palette. And there shouldn’t be any crunch to them at all.
- In the meantime place the tomatoes in a heavy-based pan/skillet with a little oil. Allow about 20 minutes on heat No 2 for them to caramelise sufficiently. When nice and gooey, and the tomato purée has had long enough to cook, carefully place them in a fine wire metal sieve over the saucepan and rub through with the back of a stainless steel soup ladle (this is much quicker than using a wooden spoon). Discard the pulp left in the sieve. Remember to grab all of the purée from underneath the sieve. And, with a little water add that to their pan to grab any sticky sediment. Pour this into the kidney bean mixture and stir through. Add the pan-fried aubergine as well.
- As everything is cooking preheat grill or broiler to moderate heat and place the peppers/capsicum underneath. Allow enough time to blacken completely then turn them over and blacken on all sides. Allow to cool before gently removing the stem. Cut the pepper open with a knife or scissors, remove and discard seeds and pour any juice into the pan with the kidney beans. Remove the blistered and blackened skins off the peppers and discard those. Slice the pepper into strips, then into smallish cubes. Add them to the kidney bean mixture.
- Sprinkle over the herbs, paprika and cayenne pepper. If the mixture is too dry add a splash or two of cold water and stir through. This should be a dryish dish but not completely dry.
- In the meantime dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan over heat No 1 for up to 10 minutes. When cool enough grind them to a powder. Sprinkle into the saucepan and stir through.
Caramelising the quartered beef tomato.
Rubbing the soft caramelised tomato quarters through a fine wire metal sieve.
After rubbing through the caramelised tomato quarters some of the dried herbs and the smoked paprika were added to the pan-fried aubergine/eggplant.
Adding the tomato purée or paste with the crushed garlic to the caramelised onions. Take off heat if pan is too hot as both can scorch.
Adding the kidney beans and caramelised onions to the aubergine.
Not perhaps the prettiest on the plate! However, the flavour of chargrilled or blackened green pepper/capsicum is incredible.
When the pepper is cool enough to handle gently pull out the stem. Then, either slice open with a knife or cut it open with scissors as I did. Remove any seeds and discard. Add any internal juices to the stew. After that peel off the charred skin, which is messy. It helps to lick your fingers! Or, at least that seems to help me.
Slicing the skinned and deseeded pepper into strips. Don’t worry too much about the discolouration as the flavour is superb.
And then cutting the strips into smallish cubes. No need to be too precise as the pepper is misshapen already.
Adding the roughly cubed pepper to the stew. Just LOVE those colours!
Dry roasting the cumin and coriander seeds over low heat.
Adding the ground, or in my case pulverised, cumin and coriander seeds. As it’s visible in the photo I have problems with my hands so I can never grind them by hand until absolutely smooth, like a powder. Really must buy a coffee grinder!
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