In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

The Ultimate Stewed Red Kidney Beans.

Here’s a dish my mom would make the odd Sunday when Callaloo wasn’t on the menu, as part of the Grand Caribbean Sunday Lunch. Paired with stewed , grilled or oven roasted meats, macaroni pie, boiled sweet potato and plantain and there was always a salad of some sort on the side. Even if it was just watercress harvested from the village streams that morning or sliced cucumbers from our kitchen garden at the back of the house.

You’ll Need…

2 cups dried red kidney beans
8-9 cups water
4-6 cloves garlic (smashed)
5 sprigs thyme
1 wiri wiri pepper (any spicy pepper will work)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion (diced)
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon Caribbean Green Seasoning
1 cup diced carrots
2 cups diced pumpkin
1 stalk celery (diced)
2 scallions (chopped)
1 tablespoon dehydrated Pimento peppers (optional)
2 tablespoon tomato puree paste
2 tablespoon Maple Syrup (pure)
1 medium tomato (diced)
2-3 tablespoon coconut cream
1 teaspoon black pepper divided
1 heaping tablespoon vegetable stock powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoon chopped shado beni (culantro)

Note: I used a Wiri Wiri pepper to give these beans a bit of a kick, Scotch Bonnet, Habanero or any of your fav spicy pepper will work, in amounts you can tolerate. Or feel free to leave it out if spicy is not your thing.

In a deep pot, soak the washed red beans in cool water for about 2 hours. Then place the pot on a medium flame to bring to a boil. As the water comes to temperature, add garlic, thyme, onion and one of the wiri wiri pepper. Give it a stir, then add the salt and black pepper. I started with about 7 cups of water but I did end up adding another 2 cups or so as they simmered.

As the beans cook, it’s a great time to prep the other ingredients.

As it comes to a boil, turn it down to as low and it can go and allow it to simmer until the beans are tender.

One hour and fifteen minutes later it’s time to take the pot off the burner as the beans will be tender. Set this aside and get another wide heavy pot on a medium/high flame.

Add the oil followed by the sugar. You would have seen me do this when I ‘brown stew’. Watch the video below if this becomes confusing. The sugar will melt, go frothy, then deep amber in color. Here is where (be VERY careful) you’ll add the cooked beans to the pot. BE VERY CAREFUL as you’re adding liquid to caramelized sugar and it can jump back at you. If the sugar goes BLACK.. STOP. Allow the pot to cool, wash, dry and start back.

Vent you kitchen as it can become a bit smoky. After all the beans (and liquid) is added, it’s time to add the other ingredients (except the shado beni).

Couple noteworthy points, mom would never add Maple Syrup, Vegetable Stock powder nor Tomato Paste (she would add a tablespoon of tomato ketchup). These additions are just my way of adding my own personality to the dish.

Bring it up to a boil and allow it to cook for a further 30 minutes. Test to make sure everything is tender and the salt is to your liking. While I didn’t add a lot of salt, I knew the vegetable stock I used had a sodium element to it. Adjust accordingly.

If it’s too runny, use your spoon to crush the pumpkin and some of the beans. BUT do keep in mind that this will THICKEN as it cools down. Leftovers can be put into freezer containers or vacuum sealed and kept in the freezer for months. Thaw, add a tiny bit of water and reheat on the stove. If you used a vacuum sealed bag, place in boiling water.

Top with the chopped Shado Beni as you turn off the stove and stir.

Drop me your comments below, tag me on Instagram and don’t forget you can now get my cookbook – The Vibrant Caribbean Pot, 100 Traditional And Fusion Recipes @
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1 Comment

  1. Barb
    November 19, 2021 / 6:19 pm

    Looks good, what meat would you suggest adding?

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