Our mom is an expert at making Caribbean style stewed red beans and I’m still to find someone who can match the way she balances flavor, tenderness and the perfect consistency to the gravy. A recipe which calls for soaking dried beans and slowly cooking then for a relatively long time. Time is something we never seem to have much of lately, so I’ve come up with a recipe which will cut the cooking time tremendously and give you the same sort of feel-good vibe as if you were eating traditional Caribbean stewed beans – stuff your mom or grandma would make for you.
1 can red beans (19 oz)
1 small onion
2 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium tomato (I used a few grape tomatoes)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon Caribbean Browning
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup bell pepper
Optional ingredients are grated ginger, sesame oil, Worcestershire sauce and Golden Ray salted butter. If doing this recipe gluten free do go through the entire list of ingredients to ensure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs (especially the Worcestershire sauce).
Chop (scotch bonnet, onion, scallion, parsley), dice (tomato, bell pepper), crush (garlic) and remove the thyme leaves off the springs. Do remember to wear gloves when handling the scotch bonnet and wash you hands immediately after with soap and water.
Heat the oil on a med flame in a deep saucepan, then add the garlic, onion, bell pepper, black pepper, scallion, thyme and parsley. Lower the heat to as low as it can go and let it go for about 4-5 mins… here’s where we’ll get an infusion of wicked flavors.
This is the one and only time you’ll ever get me to recommend that you open the can of beans and NOT rinse with cool water. Keep everything.
Now add all the other ingredients, except the browning, water and the beans. Put the lid on the pan (still on low heat) and cook for another 2-3 minutes). Then raise the heat to med/high, add the beans, water and the browning. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 7-10 minutes.
Quick Comment – You’ll need to go to a Caribbean grocers to get the Caribbean style browning and be mindful that you must use a little as it can be very overpowering (taste and color). You will notice that I did not add any salt to this dish as I find that the sodium content in canned beans is quite high, but do taste and adjust accordingly. At this point you can do two things if the gravy is too thin.. remove the lid and turn up the heat or use the back of your spoon and crush some of the beans.
If you’re a student, a busy individual or someone who just don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen, you’ll appreciate this stewed beans recipe. You can always add some coconut milk instead of the water and if you want to add a bit more body, you can go in with some flour dumplings for a one pot dish.