I have cut back on carbs the last few weeks in an attempt to shed a few of those spare tires that seem to have appeared around my middle over the winter. Blech! Luckily I stumbled across a fabulous site for low carb recipes at Kalyn's Kitchen and when I saw her recipe for black bean stew I couldn't wait to try it.
I made a few modifications to the recipe - well, actually quite a lot - not because of any problem with the original recipe (it really does sound fabulous) but because of my complete inability to plan meals in advance. I am completely hopeless when it comes to that and more often than not I find myself in the middle of a recipe missing several vital ingredients. The up side? I have been forced to learn to improvise.
This improvisation resulted in an amazing stew that is hearty and delicious - quite similar to a chili actually and I have already made it twice in the last week. I love stews and the fact that they require very little effort to pull together makes me love them even more! Leftovers taste even better the next day.
This stew can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the chicken and replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock or water. If you have both a meat eater and a vegetarian in your household, make the vegetarian version and simply add cooked chicken (make sure it's completely cooked through) to the meat eater's portion before serving.
Add a dollop of sour cream and enjoy!
Black bean and chicken stew
1 tbsp canola oil
2 chicken breasts, cubed
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander seed
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups (500ml) low sodium chicken stock
2 cups (500 ml) water
3 cans (540ml/19 fl.oz each) black beans
2 cups (500 ml) canned plum tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp oregano
2 cups frozen corn kernels
In a Dutch oven heat oil over medium-high heat and saute chicken until lightly golden. Remove chicken from Dutch oven and reserve. The chicken does not need to be cooked through at this point.
Lower heat to medium and saute onions until translucent. Do not brown onions.
Add garlic and saute briefly until aromatic (about 30 seconds) then add chili powder, cumin and coriander seed and stir. Saute briefly to allow spices to bloom - this should take about 30 seconds longer and you will know when you're ready to move on by the incredible aroma that will fill your kitchen.
Add tomato paste and stir. Saute for approximately 30 seconds more - tomato paste may brown a bit. Add chicken stock a bit at a time, deglazing the pan and using a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits off the bottom. Add the rest of the stock and the water.
Drain the beans and rinse to remove some of the excess sodium. Reserve about 1 cup of beans and add the rest to the Dutch oven. Mash the reserved beans with a potato masher and add to the pot - this will help to thicken the stew.
Add tomatoes (with their juice), bay leaves and oregano. Return chicken with any accumulated juices to the pot. Allow the stew to come to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for at least one hour or until stew is thickened to your desired consistency.
Add corn kernels and allow to heat through before serving.
Add salt to taste but note that the beans and stock already contain fairly high levels of sodium so be sure to taste the stew before adding salt. I have not found it necessary to add any additional salt but I have cut back on salt in my diet and you will want to adjust the salt to suit your own tastes.