Description: While "hearty" and "vegetarian" are two words not often heard in the same sentence, this stew is indeed very satisfying. Even my boyfriend, a sworn carnivore, enjoys it; I think Beren Erchamion would have too.

Submitted by: admin on 2003-02-09 22:06:09

Serves: 4-6

Prep Time: Start night before; then 3 hours

Difficulty: Intermediate

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1 cup (about 235 ml) dried red kidney beans
1/2 cup (about 120 ml) dried pinto beans, or other beans of your choice
1/4 cup (about 60 ml) dried lentils, any variety
1 vegetable bouillion cube
1 teaspoon (5 ml) garlic powder (optional)
1/3 cup (about 75 ml) peas, fresh or frozen (but not canned!)
2 large potatoes (I reccommend Maine russets!) peeled, washed, and diced
1-2 large carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery (optional), sliced
1/4 - 1/2 of an onion, chopped fine OR handful small pearl onions (optional)
Dried rosemary, marjoram, thyme to taste (optional)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) cornstarch
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream (or substitute whole milk), very cold
Salt and pepper to taste


(Note: measurements are approximate--I don't usually measure when I cook)

Put beans and lentils in medium mixing bowl and add water to cover. Let soak overnight, strain, and rinse again.

Fill a 5 qt. (just under 5 liter) pot about 1/3 - 1/2 of the way full of water and heat enough to dissolve bouillion cube. Add garlic, if desired. Add beans and lentils. Simmer on low heat, covered, a total of three hours, stirring occasionally. Make sure enough water remains in the pot to cover all the ingredients; add more throughout cooking time if necessary.

When 1 hour simmering time remains, prepare potatoes and carrots and add. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for half an hour.

Add peas, celery (if desired), onions (if desired) and dried herbs (if desired). Cover again and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for another half hour.

In a separate mug or small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in cream (IMPORTANT! Do NOT add cornstarch directly to hot stew without dissolving it in cold liquid first!). Add mixture to the stew and stir.

Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Let boil, stirring constantly, for a minute or two before turning the heat back to low. Stew should begin to have a gravy-like consistency. If it is too thin, dissolve a little more cornstarch in a little more cream and repeat the procedure. If stew is too thick, thin with water or cream until desired consistency is achieved. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Serve hot with warm biscuits or in a bread bowl. I also reccommend a mild cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese alongside and cranberry juice or cider to drink.

Stew freezes very well; thaw in saucepan on medium-low heat with a splash of milk or cream.

"...Thereafter for four years more Beren wandered still upon Dorthonion, a solitary outlaw; but he became the friend of birds and beasts, and they aided him...and from that time forth he ate no flesh nor slew any living thing that was not in the service of Morgoth".
-- the Silmarillion