Posted by: A Part of the Solution | December 16, 2011

Bumpin’ Bean Stew

How good is this bean stew? Well, we’ve had it twice in the past week, and no one seems to mind a bit. I can tell, ’cause they all had seconds. We’re breaking down one of our pigs, so I’ve made it with pork. And we had a big potluck mid-week, so I’ve made it without pork too. If you’re not a meat eater, this bean stew is completely satisfying. If you’re a meat eater, the bean stew is still completely satisfying–with or without the addition of flesh.

There’s a chunk of prep at the front of this recipe, but you could make the sofrito well ahead of time (and even cook the beans the night before if you were using dry instead of canned), and then the whole project is a whole lot less of a project. And it won’t compromise the finished flavor of your stew either.

Bumpin’ Bean Stew

For the Sofrito:

2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, carefully cleaned and cut into coarse chunks

1 medium, or 3 small onions, peeled and cut into coarse chunks

1 bulb of garlic, peeled and trimmed of woody clove tops

2 stalks of celery, include the leafy bits (and choose for extra leafy bits if you can) coarsely chopped

6-8 medium-hot peppers, like jalapeno or cherry bomb, or 2 small red bell peppers if you don’t want the heat

1/2 bunch fresh basil, or 2 TBSP dried

For the Stew:

1 lb dried beans, cannellini or great northern or kidney or jacob’s cattle or pink or pinto, rinsed well and soaked overnight with a bay leaf in the water–or soaked for an hour with a kettle of boiling water poured over them (don’t forget the bay leaf), then drained and simmered in water to cover until they’re tender


2 14 oz cans of any of the beans listed above

1 lb fresh chorizo sausage, or any loose spicy sausage you may prefer [optional]


1 lb pork stew meat, cut into small cubes and cooked with the beans above [optional]


1 lb good quality vegetarian sausage (if you like/want it) [optional]

3 TBSP olive oil or drippings

1 batch Sofrito

4 TBSP tomato paste

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 TBSP soy sauce

4-5 cups stock, vegetable or chicken

salt and pepper to taste

Put all the sofrito ingredients into a food processor or a blender. Whirl them around until you have a juicy, textured paste. You may store this in the fridge for two days.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed stew pan over medium low. If you’re using the sausage, start it in the heated pan. You want the sausage broken down as far as possible, so stir it and mash it as you cook it. If you’re using a flesh-based sausage, you may not need to add much oil in the pan for your next step. Otherwise, add the oil or drippings and then the sofrito when the oil is hot. Stir the sofrito as it begins cooking. You want it to lose moisture and darken in color. After 8 minutes, add the tomato paste, spices and Worcestershire sauce. Continue to stir occasionally.

Now add in the beans, the stock and the soy sauce. Let the stew come to a simmer and lower the heat. Allow the bean stew to cook for 20 minutes, or as long as is convenient. If you let it go for very much longer, you may wish to add more stock to loosen it up. Check the seasonings and correct with salt and pepper to taste before service.



  1. Just made this!!! Not too difficult and super tasty!!!

    • Yup. That one knocks ’em for seconds every time.

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