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Red Bean Stew

Photo by Vinita Punjabi


  • 450 g (2¼ cups) red beans, washed, picked over and soaked for 6 hours or overnight in 2 L water
  • 2½ L water
  • 1 medium-sized or large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small green bell peppers, cut in small dice
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • Unrefined salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp date paste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup minced fresh parsley (or a combination of parsley and dill)


Drain the beans through a strainer set over a bowl. Place the beans in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the water. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a gentle boil. Skim off any foam.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet, add the onions, carrots and peppers. Sauté and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender and fragrant, about 8-10 minutes. Add some water if sticking to the skillet. Add 2 of the garlic cloves and continue to cook for another minute or so, until the garlic is fragrant. Season to taste with salt and add the paprika. Add a little more water if needed. Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes, until the vegetables are well coated with paprika and the mixture is aromatic. Add a ladleful of simmering water from the beans to the pan, stir with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to deglaze, then stir this mixture into the beans. Add the tomato paste and bay leaf, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Add the oregano, the remaining garlic cloves, salt to taste, cayenne, vinegar and date paste and continue to simmer for another hour. The beans should be thoroughly tender and the broth thick and fragrant. Taste and adjust salt and add more cayenne if desired. For a thicker stew, strain out 1 heaped cup of beans with a little liquid and purée. Stir back into the stew.

Just before serving, stir in the parsley and season with black pepper.. Serve over noodles or thick slices of country bread.

Serves 6


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