|For the bean stew|
|14 oz||White beans|
|4 tbsp||Olive oil|
|1 tsp||Ground cumin|
|1 tsp||Smoked paprika|
|1 tsp||Dried rosemary|
|2 leaves||Bay leaves|
|¼ tsp||Cayenne pepper|
|14 oz||Diced tomatoes, canned|
|2 ¾ oz||Swiss chard|
|500 ml||Vegetable broth|
For the bean stew
Cover the dried beans with water and soak overnight. Before cooking, drain the beans and rinse briefly.
The age of the beans and storage conditions are two factors that determine how long they need to cook. If the beans have been stored under poor conditions, for example, in a warm place or in the sun, and especially if they have been stored for a long period of time, they tend to dry out and may need to be cooked for up to 4 hours. If legumes are quite old, they may not soften at all no matter how long they are cooked. It is best to check the expiration date before using dried beans.
Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic.
Heat half of the olive oil in a saucepan and sauté half of the garlic and onion until these are translucent.
Add the beans to the saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Then simmer on low heat about 25 minutes.
Don’t add any salt yet as this would significantly increase the cooking time.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a second saucepan and sauté the rest of the chopped onions until translucent.
Then add the rest of the garlic and sauté for one more minute.
Add the ground cumin, smoked paprika, rosemary, bay leaves, and cayenne pepper. Stir and then add the diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and let simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
In the meantime, wash the Swiss chard and cut into bite-size pieces. Add to the tomato mixture along with the cooked beans, pour the vegetable broth on top, and stir well.
Let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the beans are done.
If you are using considerably older beans, cook these separately for a longer period of time in step four so that they don’t require a longer cooking time in step eight — this would cause the Swiss chard to wilt and reduce drastically in size.
Season to taste with salt. Serve the Estofado de alubias con acelgas while still warm and enjoy.
Beans: Beans can be purchased either in dried form or canned. We recommend that you prepare dried beans yourself at home as these have a much better taste and a firmer texture. In addition, canned beans often contain additives and fewer nutrients. Just make sure to plan in the soaking time before you start preparing the recipe.
Oxalic acid in Swiss chard: Swiss chard is one of the vegetables that contains a high amount of oxalic acid. Oxalic acid can promote kidney diseases. People who are more inclined to get kidney stones (or have limited kidney function) should only consume such foods in small amounts.
Cumin and caraway: Although they have a similar name in many languages (e.g., in German: Kreuzkümmel and Kümmel), cumin and caraway come under a different genus and are actually not related. In addition, the two spices have a very different flavor. Caraway is milder and can easily be combined with other spices whereas cumin has a very intense and unique taste. Its fresh and slightly hot aroma only works well together with certain other spices.
Smoked paprika: The original Pimentón de la Vera (also known as smoked paprika) is available in three versions — mild (pimentón dulce), very hot (pimentón picante), and moderately hot (pimentón agridulce). The latter is a mixture of the first two types. You can vary the spiciness of the dish to suit your taste preferences by adjusting the amount of smoked paprika you use.
Reducing the salt: The high salt content of this recipe comes primarily from the vegetable broth. If you make your own broth or instead use some vegetable stock (depending on the concentration 200–300 ml and then the rest water), this recipe can be made using relatively little salt. You can also refrain from adding additional salt and pepper to taste if the vegetable broth itself contains enough salt.
Potatoes as an add-in: In addition to the ingredients listed, you can also add some diced potatoes or sweet potatoes to the stew. This might be nice, for example, if you aren’t planning to serve the soup with bread. You may need to adjust the water and salt content.
Spinach as a substitute for Swiss chard: Instead of Swiss chard, you can also use spinach. Although they have a similar appearance, the two have a slightly different flavor. If you choose to use spinach, you should reduce the cooking time (about half as long).
Quick method: Use canned beans. If you choose this option, for example, in order to save time, it is best to select organic products. They don’t contain any additional additives and are often prepared without added salt. Using a convenience product like this allows you to cut out the soaking time listed.
Lemon and yogurt: You can garnish the stew with lemon wedges, if you like. A few squeezes of lemon juice will enhance the taste and provide a fresh flavor. Another tasty addition is a dollop of vegan yogurt.