Monday, March 15, 2010

Comfort Food, Done Right

     I had the most amazing comfort food experience the other day. Luckily in some ways, since we are have been cooped up in an apartment in the winter here in Denver for the last week+, I have been able to experiment with some new recipes (making them my own) and the cold to inspire me for yummy comfort dishes. The only problem here is that I started a book that I couldn't put down for the weekend, and therefore could not do much else! I love that feeling of accomplishment after a great home cooked meal, 6 loads of laundry down, or even just temporarily neglecting my kids for the weekend to actually finish a book in under a month....*sigh* brings warmth to the soul.
     SO, this amazing dish. Once again inspired by a Dr. G recipe, but I personally changed it up enough so that I am pretty sure I can practically claim it myself! The beans in the dish are called Aduki Beans and here is a quick tidbit about them;
The name azuki is a transliteration of the native Japanese name. Japanese also has a Chinese loanwordShōzu (小豆), which means "small bean" (its counterpart "large bean" (大豆; Daizu) being the soybean). It is common to write 小豆 in kanji but pronounce it as azuki (ah-zoo-kee). Dry adzuki beans are small dark red, oval beans approximately 5 mm in diameter. They have a distinctive white ridge along one side. Adzuki beans are popular across Asia, particularly in Japan, and are used to make red sweet bean paste. They are also easy to digest which makes them a great ingredient in cooking for those who have sensitivities to beans and legumes. (Ask my dad personally, not only did he do fine the night we ate the dish but he had the nerve to steal my leftovers the next day for work!) They have a low fat, high protein, high fiber (almost 9-13g per cup of cooked beans) and natural sugar content. Lets check out the recipe now...

       Aduki Bean Stew with Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

2 15oz can Aduki Beans (you can find them at places like Vitamin Cottage or Wholefoods)           drained and rinsed
1 cube chicken bouillon or heaping tsp. chicken bouillon
1 yellow onion finely diced
2 carrots thinly sliced
1 small to medium leek thinly sliced
half butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 bunch of curly kale thinly chopped
cornstarch and water for base

Put about 6 c. water in a large stock pot to boil with chicken stock and all the vegetables and spices EXCEPT beans, cornstarch, and kale. Boil lightly for about 10 min or so to start softening, then add the beans and cook for a further 10 min or so til all the veggies are soft. Add the chopped kale finally and about 2 TBSP cornstarch to about 1/2 c. cold water to mix it thoroughly, then slowly add to stew for more of a thick base. Taste and add more bouillon if needed or pepper for flavor.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Boil about 6-8 medium yukon gold (they are the most buttery delicious) potatoes, cleaned and some peeled, for about 15min or so. Then add almost a full head of cauliflower cleaned and chopped. It will naturally rise to the top. When all the vegg is soft, strain the cauliflower off the top and puree it. Mix your potatoes with a hand mixer, then add the cauli puree, about 2 TBSP butter and milk, then salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve this entire yummy meal with the potatoes acting as the base, and the stew as sort of a gravy or topping. Be sure to serve together as it is absolutely delish and even my picky 2 yr old ate it! 


  1. Ok, I'll be honest, I am a little frightened by the beans, but the Cauliflower mashed'taters...I'm all about that!

  2. Adzuki beans are one of my favorite foods ever! Such a coincidence. I had Jenny, Heather and Katie try an adzuki bean "cake" that I got from a Japanese sweets shop in San Fran. We miss you girl and wish you could have been there with us. Lovin' the blog.


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