Our winter favourite – so wholesome, comforting and warming. This Spicy Bean Stew is cheap to make, but the result is scrumptious. It also freezes well, so you can double or even triple the stew and only make dumplings at a later date.
I have to admit, Seb and I have a very different threshold for spice. What I find pleasantly warm, normally gets Seb gasping for air. This recipe is for someone in between: I find it mildly spicy and Seb can very much enjoy it with a dollop of yoghurt to bring the heat down.
Whilst this meal takes about one hour to make, it is great to feed crowds and/or freeze for later, so you can definitely make a big batch. What I love about this Spicy Bean Stew is that is it cheap – kidney beans, tinned tomatoes and sweet potatoes don’t cost much, and the rest of the ingredients, you normally buy anyway.
Another thing is that it doesn’t use many fresh and perishable ingredients, so if you are meal planning, it is easy to pencil this Spicy Bean Stew towards the end of the period you’re planning for and still have an amazing meal to look forward to. After all, there’s not much worse when the fridge is empty just before your next food shop, and you have to resort to a ‘pasta with tomato sauce’ kind of meal. Simply the thought of it makes me reach for my local Take Away menu 🙂
Start cooking about an hour before you wish to serve this meal. First, slice the onion and fry in a big pan on low heat with oil and a pinch of salt until starting to soften (about 5 minutes).
In the meantime, peel and cube your sweet potatoes. If you don’t have enough sweet potatoes, try adding butternut squash or carrots. (If you use carrots, chop them into cubes half the size of sweet potato, as they take longer to cook). Tip your vegetables into the pan with softened onions and fry for a couple of minutes.
Drain and rinse 2 x 400g tins of kidney beans, then tip them into the pan as well. If you want to substitute for a different kind of bean, feel free to do so, but choose the type that’s firm and can withstand a long cooking time.
Pour in your tinned tomatoes, 250ml of water and stir in chipotle paste. Add more chipotle than the recipe states, if you really like it spicy. I highly recommend not to substitute away from Chipotle paste. There are many different chilli pastes, but none of them would provide the deep smoky flavour to your Bean Stew. Season with salt and pepper, before covering with a lid and leaving to simmer for 20-25 minutes (until sweet potatoes are soft).
How to Freeze Spicy Bean Stew?
If you are freezing some of this stew, once the stew is ready and potatoes are soft, pour it into freezer-safe airtight container, cover with a lid and let it cool completely at room temperature. Covering it helps retain the moisture in the stew, so you don’t need to add more water when defrosting, hence not diluting the flavour. You can store it in the freezer for up to 4 months.
When you’re ready to eat it, defrost it in the fridge overnight. Then quickly heat up the stew in the microwave or on the stove. Make your dumplings and carry on with the method below.
Preheat the oven to 180C Fan. Whilst your Spicy Bean Stew is simmering away, prepare your dumplings. Mix flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Cube the butter and rub it into the flour mixture with your fingertips. After this, the mixture should resemble fine breadcrumbs with no big lumps of butter left.
Grate cheddar and set a small heap aside for sprinkling on top of the dumplings. Finely chop your parsley (including stalks). I love adding fresh herbs to my dumplings when I have some growing in the garden. But if you don’t have any, you can add a chopped spring onion, dried herbs or nothing at all.
Mix the herbs and cheese together with the flour mixture and add 4-5 tbsp of water. Bring the mixture into a ball.
Now, onto shaping of the dumplings. The dough shouldn’t be too sticky, but if it is, you can either oil your hands, o keep them wet with water. Make 12 equal (ish) balls.
When your Spicy Bean Stew is cooked, tip the mixture into a roasting dish. Pop your dumpling on top and sprinkle with the saved cheese.
Pop the dish in the oven for about 15 minutes until the dumplings are cooked. They should puff up and turn lovely golden brown. Serve with a dollop of plain yoghurt or sour cream.
If you have some sweet potatoes left, why not make another delicious meal:
Spicy Bean Stew with Cheesy Dumplings
- 2 small brown onions sliced
- 350 g sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
- 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
- 2 x 400 g kidney beans
- 1 tbsp chipotle paste
- 125 g plain flour
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 60 g butter room temperature, cubed
- 70 g cheddar grated
- 10 g parsley finely chopped, including stalks
- four dollops of yoghurt or sour cream to serve (optional)
- salt & pepper
- Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a large pan over low heat. Tip in your sliced onions, add a pinch of salt and fry for 5 minutes until softened.
- Tip in cubed sweet potatoes and fry for a minute.
- Drain and rinse kidney beans under the tap, add them to the the sweet potatoes together with tinned tomatoes and 250g of water. Stir in a tbsp of chipotle paste and season.
- Cover with a lid and simmer on low heat for 25-30 minutes until sweet potatoes are soft.
- Whilst the stew is simmering away, heat the oven to 180C Fan and prepare your dumplings.
- Mix the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. Add cubes of butter and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Mix in the grated cheddar (save a heap for sprinkling on top) and chopped parsley. Then add 4-5 tbsp of water and bring the mixture together in a ball. Shape 12 equal size dumplings.
- When your spicy bean stew is cooked, tip it into an oven-proof dish and arrange the dumplings on top and sprinkle with the saved cheddar.
- Put the dish in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes until the dumplings are puffed up and turned a lovely golden brown colour.
- Serve with a dollop of plain yoghurt or sour cream.