Bean + Tomato Stew

Life is as hectic as ever.  Though I really shouldn’t complain considering where I was a few months ago, perched on a mountain, surrounded by fresh-air, greenery, and my existantialising [yes that is a word] self.  Safe to say that for the time being, I am very happy to run on life’s treadmill.

That said, I now find myself looking for time, to make time for time-saving big-batch-meals [hope you enjoyed that – I certainly did!].

Inspired by Jamie Oliver’s Every Day Superfood smokey veggie feijoada, kale stalks and onion peels, the rather rapid onslaught of October, and London’s looming cold grey days, here’s a Bean and Tomato Stew that’ll take you a Sunday (and a half) to make, last you up to a week, that you’ll actually want to eat over and over and over (even if you're not weirdly akin to doing so on a regular basis, like me...).

So get ready.  Arming you with the arsenal to tackle any grey rainy day.  Here's autumn in a bowl, at your fingertips.

(note. Today's living-alone-cooking-for-one-money-saving-hacks: you can't always have a pantry as well stocked as Jamie's.  Thus after much thought, I have decided that in order to pack maximum punch with minimum spend, the spices you want in your pantry are cumin and paprika; applicable across an incredible range of cuisines, either together or individually. You're welcome).

Bean + Tomato Stew
nibs etc. original recipe. Serves 4-6.

1 cup Kidney Beans

2 small Yellow Onions/1 large Onion (bulb and peel included)
4-6 Kale Stalks (stems and leaves included)
2 Cloves Garlic (clove and peel included)

2 tins Canned Tomatoes (diced, whole, as you wish)
2 -4 tsp Cumin
2-4 tsp Paprika
2-4 tsp Cinnamon
2-4 tsp Salt
2-4 tsp Pepper (or substitute with a pinch or two of chili/chili flakes)
2-4 Eggs
1-2 Avocados

Sit kidney beans in 3 cups water in a pot/bowl overnight (or for 8 hours).
Drain, rinse, and pour into a large pot/saucepan, with 3 more cups of water.  Add onion peel from 1-2 onions, garlic peel and kale stalks – cut into 1 inch pieces - (bulb, clove, and stalk set aside for later use) to your pot.  Bring to and leave at a boil for 10 minutes.  Then reduce the heat and bring down to a simmer.  Place the lid, marginally to one side allowing steam to escape, and simmer for 4-6 hours (the longer the better), making sure to top up the water, cup by cup (the pot should never dry out, beans should always be just covered).
Once cooked through, ie. easily squashable between thumb and fore-finger, carefully, using a slotted spoon, remove the peels, leaving the kale stalks because as you now know, these are very much edible (especially after 6 hours of cooking).  Then pour into a deep dish frying pan (for which you have a lid, preferably, or an aptly sized plate), and set on medium-high heat.
Prep your onion bulb(s) by halving, and slicing into 1cm segments, mince your garlic, and add to the beans along with your 2 cans of tomatoes, seasoning and spices to taste (hence, 2 – 4, though in honesty, I definitely erred on ‘4’ side, if not a touch more), and simmer for an additional 40-50 minutes (the longer the better really).  You may need to add a cup or 2 of water as it continues to cook, so that the beans continue to cook, and flavours to blend, without drying out.
Meanwhile, roughly chop/julienne your kale leaves.  Once flavours have melded together beautifully, add your kale, stirring to disperse evenly.  Then create 2-4 (depending on how many mouths you are planning to feed – 1 egg per person) slight indentations in your bean and tomato stew, into which you may now crack your eggs.  Season each egg with salt and pepper, then cover your pan with a lid, leaving the heat on medium-high, for a couple of minutes until your eggs glaze over, but yolks are still soft to the touch and runny in the centre.
When your eggs are ready, turn off the heat, and plate a portion of bean stew + egg, each topped with half a sliced avocado, a side of toasted, crusty sourdough bread, and a healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. 

Topped with a dollop of sour cream, greek yoghurt, grated cheddar cheese.
Addition of any seasonal veggies to the stewing phase (ie. with the addition of the canned tomatoes), such as: sweet potato, squash, aubergine, red bell peppers.
For those of us with more extensive pantries, add aromatics to your pot of boiling beans for greater depth of flavour, such as bay leaves, cloves, thyme etc.
Substitute Kidney Beans for black beans, or any other bean you happen to get your hands on.