Meatless Monday: Kidney Bean Stew With Sweet Potatoes and Oranges

Make a batch of Bal Arneson's kidney bean stew for your Meatless Monday dinner, then eat the leftovers for lunch during the week.
By: Michelle Buffardi
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I cleaned out my kitchen this weekend -- the 'fridge and cabinets and everything. When I did, I discovered that I had about 100 pounds of dried beans. Some I bought in bulk and stored in glass jars because I like the way they look, and I assumed I'd use them up quickly. And more still came from a bean share I get through my CSA; we're able to order grains, beans and flour from a small organic farm in western New York called Cayuga Pure Organics. My intentions were good when I placed the order, but when I received the beans, I got lazy and stashed them instead of cooking them. So now I'm faced with enough beans to run me out of my apartment. I've vowed to cook every last one.

Last night I made a giant pot of Bal Arneson's Kidney Bean Stew (1 bag of beans down, about 45 to go). The recipe calls for canned beans and you can well use those, but since I possess so many dried beans, I used those and added them after the spices but before the sweet potatoes (I simmered the stew for about 40 minutes to cook the beans before adding in the sweet potatoes, then followed the rest of the recipe as written). My plan was to make a big pot of beans and eat some for dinner over rice (I'm a huge fan of this Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley), then bring the rest for lunch on ( Meatless) Monday, and Tuesday, too. So far, the plan is working well.

Bal Arneson's Kidney Bean Stew With Sweet Potatoes and Oranges

Makes 4 servings
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh garlic
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons tamarind pulp*
1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups diced sweet potato
1 cup water
1 (14-ounce) can kidney beans, drained (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 small seedless oranges, peeled and cubed

*Can be found at specialty Asian and Indian markets.

Place the oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the bay leaves, cumin seeds, garam masala, fenugreek seeds, oregano, rosemary, and turmeric, and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add the tamarind pulp, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Add the kidney beans and oranges and cook for 2 minutes to heat through. Turn the heat off, cover with a lid and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and serve.

Editor's note: I ate mine with a spoonful of Greek yogurt on top, I suggest you do the same. You can also add some fresh cilantro if you have some of that. And if you're cooking for 4 or don't anticipate leftovers, make a double batch of this stew -- it tastes even better the next day.

Meatless Monday and Health-Related News:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found, in a recent study of school lunches, that kids aren't eating enough servings of fruit and vegetables. They found that a third of high school students do not eat vegetables each day and more than a fourth do not always have a daily serving of fruit. Since fruits and vegetables can reduce chronic diseases and some cancers and help teens manage their weight, the CDC is participating in a program called "Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools," which has a goal of putting 6,000 salad bars in schools over the next three years. Studies have found that salad bars in schools really work to ensure that kids are eating fruits and vegetables.

Perhaps they should consider a program to get Meatless Monday in school cafeterias, too.

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