Spring White Bean Asparagus Stew
120 Min
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Spring White Bean Asparagus Stew

In the last few years, weather patterns have been topsy turvy, to say the least. Winter weather during springtime and balmy days during wintertime are no longer uncommon. I lived in Canada for almost ten years and never quite got used to the cold. However, upon moving to Texas, I embraced the hot weather wholeheartedly, never looked back and unlike most Houstonians, welcomed the hot summers. So, these recent cold spurts have left me longing even more than usual for warming stews and curries. About half a dozen variety of beans are a staple in my pantry and my way of coping with cold weather is to dream up new ways to cook a bean stew. Simply cooking aromatic spices long and slow with the beans infuses them with flavor. Stirring in an onion and tomato adds another layer of flavor. Adding a green vegetable at the end gives it a lovely texture and brightness of flavor. This stew can be made with so many different root vegetables like potatoes, turnips, yellow beets and instead of asparagus, use fennel, kale, or spinach. Enjoy it on its own or top off with cheese or slices of avocado for added flavor.

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Cook Time

120 Minutes

Serves

6

Step 1
Soak the white beans for 8 to 10 hours or overnight. In a large stockpot, cover the beans with 2 to 3 inches of water and bring to a boil. If any scum rises to the top, remove it with a skimmer or drain the water out and add more water. Now add the cardamom and cloves and bring to a boil again. Lower the heat, cover the stockpot and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until the beans are cooked through and soft.
Step 2
In a medium sized frying pan over high heat, warm the olive oil and add the cumin seeds, onions, carrots, and garlic. Cook on high heat for a few minutes, then lower the heat and cover the frying pan for another 10 to 12 minutes, stirring frequently. The onions should get to a golden tinge and the carrots slightly softened. Now add the turmeric, chile powder, salt, and tomatoes. Cook on high for another 3 to 4 minutes then add this masala to the beans. Add 1 to 2 cups of water to the stew and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for another 10 to 12 minutes.
Step 3
The stew should have enough liquid to be enjoyed with a spoon but not be watery. If there is too much liquid, simmer it for a few more minutes with the lid off.   Trim the asparagus and cut the stalks into tiny wheels leaving the spears intact. Add the asparagus to the stew just before serving it. Add dill, a squeeze of lemon and serve.
1 cup white beans
6 whole cardamom pods, crushed
1/2 teaspoon cloves, crushed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 cup onions, minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon red chile powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 bunch asparagus
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Juice of one lemon

Notes & Variations

  • To crush cardamom and cloves, place them on a counter and crush them with a rolling pin.
  • To make a creamier version, add a can of coconut milk to the stew in place or along with the water.
  • Enjoy the stew with warm crusty sourdough or rice.
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120 Min
DF
GF
NF
V

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