Tender Bean, Potato & Onion Stew

Transcontinental Kitchen is a method for friends and family to connect across distances through meals. The idea is this: we agree on a recipe and a date, then we cook, eat, and discuss.

Our pilot meal is from the Blue Zones Kitchen Cookbook, Nicoya section, p 163: Tender Bean, Potato & Onion Stew, and Jesse’s is our first paired kitchen. 

We served ours with handmade Nixtamalized tortillas (which already we make frequently, but will use the method described in the book on p 152) and homemade salsa roja.

What we did differently than the recipe: First, Justin soaked the beans overnight. They were still too hard by morning, so he pressure cooked them for twenty minutes. That was a little overkill, so they were softer than they should have been for step one. Furthermore, we didn’t have any vegetable broth, so Justin decided to alter the order completely and cook the vegetables part way, then add the beans and let them finish together.  This created the vegetable broth.

I thought the stew was scrumptious. The mixture of beans, potatoes and probably the chayote, made a rich, thick broth which was surprising, but maybe not unexpected. The stew felt hearty, warm, and flavorful despite its simplicity.

We made the tortillas according to the book recipe which called for some baking soda. I always aim for a perfect puff. I don’t have any explicit evidence to what makes them puff, but I think it’s a combination of a slightly wetter dough and a very hot pan. I don’t know if the baking powder makes a difference, but every tortilla puffed tonight, so there’s that.

We paired the stew with the tortillas and then topped it with some homemade salsa. I think the salsa added a cool crispness that was necessary against all the warm flavors and textures, and what better way to deliver this combination than with a fresh tortilla? Though, tomorrow we plan to make tostones to go with.

The only thing we think this dish could have used on its own was a garnish and maybe a little more heat (like hotter peppers or hot sauce). Justin wasn’t sure if he put the culantro in too early or if he didn’t use enough for our tastes. In any case, it came together quickly, was easy to accessorize and was pretty good on its own. 9/10, will definitely make again.



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