Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 16: Corn, Bean, and Pumpkin Stew with Potato Bread

I confess.  I forgot to put the beans to soak last night (or this morning), and didn't realize my mistake until 5:00 when I started getting dinner ready.  Luckily I was able to do the quick soak method, but that meant that dinner wasn't ready until 8:00 which is almost Paul's bedtime (since his alarm goes off at 3:00 in the morning).   Paul was happy to have leftover orzo with some of the potato bread I baked, and was nice enough to taste a bit of the stew before he went to bed.

I have another confession.  I don't think I like cinnamon in a savory dish, or at least I really didn't like the taste in this stew.  If I make it again it will be without the cinnamon.  Of course then it would be just like the Acorn Stew I made on Day 1.  Paul said it was good (shocker!), but admitted he didn't care for the cinnamon either (not a surprise), and that he doesn't care for squash (big surprise).  He said he thinks he used to like squash when he was a kid, but that it was always served covered with brown sugar.  Maybe it was just the brown sugar he liked.

Tonight was another recipe make-up day (only one more to go!), so I baked some Potato Bread which was also from The Greens Cook Book.  I thought it would be good to sop up the broth with.  I forgot to apply the egg wash so the bread didn't have that nice shiny coat, but it was delicious!  Nice body and flavor -- can't wait to make some toast tomorrow!

Corn, Bean, and Pumpkin Stew
The Greens Cook Book
Yield:  Serves 4 to 6

1 cup pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 pound tomatoes, fresh or canned, peeled, seeded, and chopped; juice reserved
3 ears corn (about 1 1/2 cups kernels)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp oregano
1-inch piece cinnamon stick
3 cloves
4 tbsp corn oil, light sesame oil, or light olive oil
1 large onion, cut into a medium dice
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp paprika
2 cups bean broth or Stock for Curried Soups and Dishes (page 67)
3 cups pumpkin or winter squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 Serrano chilies, seeded and finely chopped
Cilantro or parsley, chopped, for garnish

     If you have not pre-soaked the beans, clean them, rinse them well, cover them with boiling water, and let them soak for one hour.  Drain them, cover them with fresh water, and bring to a boil.  Add 1/2 tsp salt and cook about 1 1/2 hours, or until the beans are tender.  Drain the beans, and reserve the cooking liquid.
     Warm a small heavy skillet and toast the cumin seeds until their fragrance emerges; then add the oregano, stir for 5 seconds, and quickly transfer the spices to a plate or bowl so they don't burn.  Combine them with the cinnamon and the cloves, and grind to a powder in an electric spice mill.
     Heat the oil in a wide skillet and saute the onion briskly over high heat for 1 minute; then lower the heat to medium.  Add the garlic, the spices, the paprika, and 1 tsp salt.  Stir well to combine; then add 1/2 cup reserved bean broth or stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft.  Next add the tomatoes and cook 5 minutes.  Then add the pumpkin or winter squash along with another cup of bean broth or stock. After 20 to 30 minutes, or when the pumpkin is about half-cooked (soft but still too firm to eat) add the corn, the beans, and the fresh chilies.  thin with the reserved tomato juice, adding more broth or stock as necessary.  Cook until the pumpkin is tender.  Check the seasoning, and add more salt if necessary.  Serve garnished with the chopped cilantro or parsley.
     Even though there is corn in the stew, corn bread or tortillas make a good accompaniment.

Potato Bread
The Greens Cook Book
Yield:  Makes two loaves

1 cup warm whole milk
1 cup warm water
1 1/2 packages active dry yeast (3 1/2 tsp)
2 tbsp honey or sugar
6 to 7 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 pound small red potatoes
3 tbsp corn or safflower oil
1 tbsp salt
1 egg plus 1 tbsp milk or water, beaten, for egg wash

     Combine the milk and water in a large bowl, stir in the yeast, and let it dissolve; than add the honey or sugar and 3 cups of the flour.  Beat vigorously with a spoon to form a thick, smooth batter.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
     While the dough is rising, boil or steam the potatoes, leaving the skins on if you like.  Mash the cooked potatoes with a fork, and set them aside to cool.  Once the dough has risen, add the potatoes, oil, and salt, and mix well.
     Fold in about 2 more cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time, turning the bowl a quarter turn between folds to approximate the action of kneading.  When the dough becomes too thick to handle in this way, turn it out onto a floured surface, and begin kneading.  Knead the dough until the surface is smooth and satiny, 5 to 8 minutes, adding only enough flour to keep it from sticking.
     Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn it over so the top is coated, then cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.  Punch it down, and let it rise again, 35 to 40 minutes.
     Shape the dough into two loaves, place them in oiled pans, and let them rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Brush the tops with the egg wash.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden brown on all sides.  Remove the loaves from the oven and turn them out onto a rack to cool.

Tomorrow night:  Meatloaf and mashed potatoes!


  1. I was not a fan of the cinnamon flavor in the stew; the flavor I did enjoy was the serrano pepper - gave it a little heat, a little kick. The potato bread was great. I think I am spoiled with all of these home-made breads... Looking forward to the meatloaf and mashed potatoes!

  2. You forgot to mention a major ingredient.. My bowl to serve this in. :) I am going through your blog to search for something to cook tonight.

  3. You're so right, Charan! The best thing about the stew was the beautiful bowl I served it in. You can find it, and other handcrafted pottery items here: