Rob and I just returned from a week-long vacation in Iceland. I hope to do a more complete post in a few weeks about the trip (wonderful! beautiful! stunning!), after I frantically try to put my life back into order with work and research commitments. My blog will go into autopilot until then.
I will tease you, though, and let you know how great the trip was and a week was certainly not long enough for the quaint island. Despite the stunning views and vistas, it was cold. While the daytime highs could be 8-20C, with winds beating us fiercely at 80 km/h, the windshield was brutal. It reminded me how it is truly fall.
Even before I left, I knew summer was slowly coming to an end at home. I was worried I would return to Canada to find fall, but instead, thankfully, it is still in the mid-20s.
However, there are other signs. The mornings are now dark when I get up and if I cook after work, it can be dark by the time I finish. Butternut squash, a surefire marker of fall, is making a come back!
After the cold winds of Iceland, I was hankering some warming stews and soups. Summer or fall, stews are great any time of the year. In fact, this stew doubles as a salad which is how I ate the leftovers. See how perfect this is for end-of-summer meals?
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health (recipe posted here), this is a flavourful medley of vegetables (red bell pepper, green beans, tomatoes and butternut squash) with a light broth spiced with sweet paprika. Spurred by Cara’s recommendation, I used butternut squash instead of sweet potatoes but both would work well here. This is great with the large, buttery lima beans, but feel free to use your favourite bean.
Moosewood recommended serving this with a romesco sauce on top, but I found I preferred the thickened leftover stew over top baby spinach with a sprinkle of toasted slivered almonds. After throwing my sweet and sour lentils overtop arugula, I am learning that most bean dishes can be thrown overtop some greens for a lovely salad.
Spanish Green Bean and Lima Bean Stew
1 tbsp olive oil
1.5 cups chopped onion
1.5 cups chopped red bell pepper (1 bell pepper)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp Aleppo chili flakes, to taste
1/2 cup dry sherry
1.5 cups chopped butternut squash (or sweet potatoes)
15-oz can whole tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup water, or to thin to your desired consistency
2 cups green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups cooked large lima beans (or butter beans)
1. In a soup pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil and cook the onions, bell pepper and garlic for about 5 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning. Cook until softened. Add the salt, bay leaves, thyme, paprika, chili flakes and cook for another 3 minutes, continuing to stir. Add the sherry, butternut squash, tomatoes and water, bringing to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Add the green beans and butter beans and simmer until the butternut squash is tender but firm, around 10-15 minutes.
3. Remove the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.