White beans lend a creaminess to this stew which, when combined with sweet potato, sage and rosemary, feels like the food version of a cosy sweater. I’m all for canned beans – especially in a pinch – but I really notice a better quality when I cook my own white beans from dried. That said, you can definitely make this stew with canned white beans, so skip step one in the method below if you do.
If using dried white beans, soak them overnight in cold water for at least 8 hours or longer. When you’re ready to cook them, drain off the soaking liquid and discard, then put the beans in a medium saucepan and cover with fresh water.
Bring to a boil, adding a pinch of salt and any fresh herbs you have lying around (a few thyme sprigs, sage leaves, parsley stems, etc.).
Simmer for about 30–40 minutes, or until tender. The cooking time will depend on your beans, how long they were soaked for and how old they are. Drain the beans and set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the sweet potato, carrots, rosemary and sage. Season well with salt and cook for another 2–3 minutes until the herbs are fragrant.
Add the cooked and drained white beans and the vegetable stock/broth and bring everything to a boil. Simmer over a medium-low heat, covered with a lid for 20 minutes until the sweet potato has softened.
Uncover, stir and simmer for a final 5 minutes. Crush a few white beans against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon to release their starch and thicken the stew. Spoon the stew into bowls and garnish with
chopped parsley and freshly ground black pepper to serve.
Recipe extracted from First-time Vegan by Leah Vanderveldt, Ryland Peters & Small, RRP £9.99
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