I wish I could serve you all a bowl of this stew, it’s a luxurious combination of creamy beans and melt in your mouth roasted vegetables, accented with just the right amount of texture from whole spelt berries and the emerald lacinato kale stirred in at the end.
Eating it on a dark, wet evening last week warmed me instantly and I loved that it stood alone, a complete meal in itself: beans, whole grain, greens and vegetables.
An excellent source of cholesterol-free protien, beans strengthen the kidneys and adrenal glands and contain isoflavones which help prevent cancer and heart disease. Beans that are white in color are particularly beneficial to the lungs and colon.
Jerusalem artichokes, also known as sunchokes are one of my favorite vegetables, I especially love them roasted, just plain with olive oil and sea salt, allowing them to transform into a creamy, chestnut-y flavored delicacy. Unlike most other root vegetables they contain no starch and are a good source of inulin, which is helpful for diabetics as it reduces the need for insulin.
I hope you’ll make this while the squash is sweet and the local Jerusalem artichokes are at their freshest.
Fall Vegetable Cannellini Bean Stew with Spelt Berries and Kale
1 cup cannellini beans, use great northern beans, if you can’t get cannellini
¼ cup spelt berries
1 large sprig rosemary
2 sprigs sage
5 sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
1 inch piece kombu seaweed
1 pound winter squash, cut in 1 inch triangles
½ pound baby turnips, cut in quarters
2 large carrots, cut in ½ inch pieces
½ pound Jerusalem artichokes, cut in ½ inch slices
freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small leek, cut in ½ slices
¼ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon tamari or shoyu
5 large lacinato kale leaves or other variety, finely sliced
Combine the beans and spelt berries in a bowl, rinse, drain, cover with at least 2 inches of filtered water and soak over night.
Remove leaves from rosemary, sage and thyme, reserving stems. Mince herbs and set aside.
Drain the beans and spelt berries and place in a pressure cooker or pot. Add reserved herb stems, bay leaves and kombu. Cover with ½ inch of filtered water, bring up to high pressure and cook for 30 minutes. If you are using a pot cover with 2 inches of water and simmer for 1 ½ hours, or until tender.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
Place squash, turnips, carrots and Jerusalem artichokes in a large bowl. Add a large pinch of salt and pepper and drizzle with 2 tablespoon of the olive oil. Toss and spread into a roasting pan in a single layer, bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and drizzle about ½ a cup of filtered water over the vegetables, this helps deglaze the pan, set aside.
Warm remaining olive oil in a medium size pot, add onions and sauté over medium heat until they begin to brown. Stir in garlic, celery, leeks, minced herbs and a pinch of salt. Cook for a few minutes, lower heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until celery is tender. Add the cooked beans, spelt berries and as much of the cooking liquid you need for the stews desired thickness. Simmer for a few minutes.
Using a rubber spatula scrape the roasted vegetables into the pot, add vinegar and tamari and simmer 10 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Stir in kale and cook a few minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 4 to 6