Sweet & Spicy Red Bean Stew

tumblr_miwzm8dMwt1s6qk5ko1_1280I was craving sweet kidney beans. Cozied up this blustery day, Tennyson and I licked our lunch bowls clean. Shaped like their beneficiaries, these beans are good for — you guessed it — the kidneys. The designs of God! Among the many reasons we want to be kind to our kidneys is their upkeep of our reproductive system. This hearty dish welcomes a variety of veggies. Fennel or zucchini would’ve been great.

Soaked beans, 1/2-3/4 cup
Crimini mushroom
Garlic
White onion, 4 ringed slices
Chopped celery, 2 stalks
Olives optional or touch of oil
Small strip of Kombu

Cinnamon 1/2 tsp
Cumin up to 1 tsp
Sorghum syrup or sweetener of choice, 2 T or to taste
Red pepper paste 1/4 teaspoon optional
Sea Salt to taste, up to 1 tsp

Serves 2

Once you’ve added the kombu and/or are resimmering (per How To Cook Beans post), add the garlic, onion, and spices to get the flavor going. Best to add veggies toward the end so they don’t overcook and retain the enzymes and vitamins, but I felt like infusing the celery minerals into the soup this time and so tossed in the celery early. After about an hour, add the other vegetables, salt, pepper paste, and syrup. I procured pure red pepper paste in glass without the trappings of msg and sugar from H Mart, a Korean market. Stir and cook another few minutes. Add olives before serving. Their oil, or a quality oil, combines well with beans.

Variation

2 heaping T rice syrup
A little under 1 T tomato paste
Coriander spice makes everything delish

Rice syrup is a mild sweetener so you’ll need a little more. Sorghum is a grain, an important crop of Africa and South Asia. The syrup or molasses is sold at health food markets along with the rice syrup. Celery is one of my superfood secrets for delicious soup and broth. Some folks aren’t crazy about it raw, but the taste mellows when cooked while the sodium it gives up into the juices is the wonderful kind the body begs. And few veggies beat the silicon content that helps you absorb calcium and strengthens your bones.

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