A newly minted bean and squash stew

Chili and other bean and tomato-based stews are mainstays in my Vegaquarian repertoire. I often rely on my versatile chili recipe to get me through the winter, but even that can get boring.  In my experience, the perpetual need to cook large quantities of healthy food never ceases, even when I hit a recipe-rut. In my weekend attempt to protect against complacency, I shifted my spices, not my hearty vegetables. This soup was loosely inspired by 101 cookbooks: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/adzuki-butternut-squash-soup-recipe.html

I had some already roasted winter vegetables in the fridge, dried kidney beans, a can of tomatoes, and some beautiful bok choy, among other things in my kitchen. Soup seemed imminent.

Start by cooking your beans. I hadn’t soaked my kidney beans for more than a couple hours when I started cooking them, so the cook time was significantly longer than usual. As usual, I sauteed garlic and then tossed in the beans with water/stock and bay leaves.

While your beans are cooking, roast any squash/root vegetables you have. I used acorn, turnips, onion, and sweet potato. I had already seasoned my veggies heavily with a dried pesto seasoning, so basil would be a good place to start. S&P, of course.

Once I had the beans almost tender, I added the squash to the pot, along with a can of diced tomatoes. Here’s where things got interesting. Instead of adding my usual slew of spices, I turned to cinnamon and corriander. Just a little bit, along with some adobo sauce, gave the soup an incredible flavor profile.

I let the flavors marry, and simmer for a bit.

While my soup was bubbling, I cleaned and chopped the bok choy. I wanted bite-size pieces of greens for the soup.

Before I added the bok choy, I removed a couple of cups of soup from the pot, and pulverized the remaining soup with my immersion blender, thickening things up a bit. Then I threw the reserved soup and the bok choy greens in, and returned the soup to a simmer.

This is definitely one of my more exciting soup creations this year. Definitely give these flavors a try next time you have extra squash on your hands. Excuse my shoddy photo– my antique iphone is ill-equipped for these modern times…

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