Thursday 31 October 2013

Butter Bean Bacon and Autumnal Squash Stew

I love dried beans, and with the weather really getting more troublesome with cold temperatures and even colder rain, I like to stock up and just have them around for really comforting dinner. I’ve also been trying my hand at bread making so this is an excellent accompaniment. I never knew that butter beans were lima beans. I used to think I hated lima beans as a child. I think it must be because when I was a child they came in a can and were green. Who knows, but my recipe for the lima beans now is amazing and I love it. Either I know how to cook them now or I was just a silly child. Probably both. I generally don’t soak my beans as I like the idea of having a pot cooking all day, but if you’re pressed for time and have the time to soak them in advance, I would soak them over night. This serves about 5 depending on your hunger levels. Enjoy!

500g hard squash (butternut, pumpkin, red kobacha etc..)
400g dry butter beans
100g streaky bacon (about 6-8 rashers)
1 large onion
1 stick celery
1 green pepper
4 cloves garlic
2-3 litres of water
2 tbsp. bouillon powder (stock cubes work too)
1 tsp. pepper
Salt to taste

To Start:
Peel and dice your squash. Be careful with this; use a sharp knife and a sturdy cutting surface.
Dice your onion, celery, bacon and green pepper and garlic. (The garlic can be smashed and stay whole as it will be cooked for a long time it will just disintegrate).

To Cook:
Heat a large pan on high, and add the bacon. Stir it around and encourage it to get crispy. 5-6 minutes.
Next add in the onions, peppers, celery, and garlic. Stir around for a few minutes (you may need to add oil depending on how fatty your bacon is)
Add the beans, water, pepper (no salt yet) and bouillon cubes and bring up to a boil.
Once at a rolling hard boil, turn down to a low-med heat (small boil).
Cook for about 2-3 hours, or until beans are completely soft and cooked through.
Salt to taste and serve hot with fresh bread.

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