Finally another Caribbean recipe for you all to sink your teeth into, this time we are eating a culinary dish from the beautiful country of Belize. While Belize is more or less a latin American country, it’s located in the Caribbean sea and shares a similar culture to it’s Caribbean neighbours.
I haven’t had the privilege of visiting Belize just yet but I have encountered a few people who had nothing but good things to say about this tiny country, so there’s another destination to add to my ever growing bucket list.
Lately I’ve been thinking about ways to add more protein to my diet, in a way that’s yielding a Caribbean flare and BAM I thought of stew beans. Just to let you know Caribbean people tend to call their recipes/dish by the present principle. For instance, while a Westener would say “curried goat” and an English speaking Caribbean person would say “Curry goat” or in this case this Belizean dish would be referred to as “stew beans” as opposed to “stewed beans”.
That’s just the whole creole linguistic way of talking, don’t ask me why I can’t give you specifics on that, it’s just the way we talk and what I’ve grown to say.
This stew beans dish is very flavoursome – lot’s of garlic, with a combination of herbs (rosemary, sage and thyme). Sage and rosemary doesn’t tend to make much of an appearance in Caribbean food, they’re not traditional but with that being said, it’s certainly not guaranteed and it does depend on the island and/or the dish at hand.
I had to search high and low to source the best ingredient combination to make this dish, just like other dish over time, generational adaptations are bound to occur within any traditional style of cooking. Some people like to add pig tails for an in depth salty savoury flavour, while others go hardcore with oregano, cumin and coriander. After doing many weeks of trial and error I decided to go with my gut instinct and use the flavours which I feel represented this Belizean style dish the best.
I used dry kidney beans which were soaked overnight – this helps to hasten the cooking process and darken the colour of the water. Speaking of which, you will need a rather large stock pot to accommodate the large volume of water that is used. The red kidney beans will take a number of hours to simmer down into a stew, so time and patience is key for this recipe.
A few other veggies are added for flavour – bell peppers and celery, you can add a few carrots if you wish!
Once the beans are completely stewed serve with a side of plantain or brown rice.
- 1 cup of red kidney beans
- 2 litres of water
- 1 bell pepper (orange or yellow), chopped
- 1-2 celery stalks, chopped
- 8 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1tbsp of himalayan pink salt
- 1 tsp of rosemary (fresh or ground)
- 1 tsp of garlic granules
- 1 tsp sage
- 1 tsp of thyme
- 1 tsp of black pepper
- 1 onion, sliced
- coconut oil
- Thoroughly rinse the red kidney beans to get rid of any dirt or debris.
- Soak the beans in the cups of water, cover and set aside overnight.
- Place the large stock pot on high heat to boil until bubbles begin to appear.
- Carefully lower all of the vegetables (excluding the onion into the stock pot). Now is a good time to reduce the flame to medium heat.
- Season the bean water with the black pepper, pink salt, sage, thyme, garlic granules, rosemary and stir.
- Add 1tbsp of coconut oil to the stock pot.
- Cover the pot with the lid and leave to simmer until the water evaporates by ¾ so less then half a pot of water should be left and allow the beans soften. This will take anything from 2½ hours to 3 hours, so check the pot regularly, during the given time as you want the stew to be thick.
- As the water begins to reduce by ¾ and resembles a thick rich brown stew, it should be ready The thickness of the sauce is at your discretion - add a splash of water if you want the sauce slightly thinner. On the other hand, if it is not thick enough simply remove a few tablespoons of beans, mash them and return the mashed beans to the pot.
- In a separate frying pan, brown the onions in 2 tbsp of coconut oil then stir them into the pot of stew beans.
- Serve with oven baked plantain or brown rice.