I love the melt-in-your-mouth texture of red beans and I often make it as a stew. In the Caribbean we define stewed dishes by making a base of caramelized sugar, some people use less traditional methods, like caramelizing orange juice or ketchup. When these items caramelize they create a sweet flavour that characterizes the stew.
However, you can also make stews by slowly cooking beans or vegetables in liquid. In this method there is no oil or caramelization required. When using this method, many people like to create the flavour of caramelization by adding ketchup and margarine.This is optional but if you’ve never tried it, give it a try. It truly does add a nice flavour to the stew.
I love making bean stews and red bean stew is one of my favourites. I love to have it on it’s own or with salad for a very low-carb yet filling lunch. When I’m feeling for something a little heavier, I have it with boiled provisions or mashed potatoes. It is a light lunch that is also hearty and filling. It is very simple and easy to make on a busy day. You can put it on the stove and do other things while the stew thickens.
Stewed red beans is a classic Trinidadian Sunday lunch dish. It’s tasty and often paired with rice and macaroni pie.
Start off with soaking your dried red beans in hot water and baking powder. This takes some planning as the beans need to soak for 8 hours. This is easily done overnight.
You can also use a pressure cooker to make this stew, but I always recommend soaking dried beans. Soaking dried beans plumps them up slowly and makes them more easily digestible, which enhances their nutritional benefits.
TIP: One pound of dried beans will give you 5 cups of red beans when soaked and plumped up.
1/2 lb dried red beans
5 cups of water
3 leaves shadon beni, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ketchup (optional)
1/4 teaspoon margarine (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
- Soak beans over night in hot water with baking soda.
- Add the strained beans to boiling water.
- Season with salt, pepper, garlic and shadon beni.
- Boil for 30 minutes, checking occasionally to test if the beans are cooked.
- Once the beans are cooked allow the dish to simmer until there is a thick gravy. Crush some of the beans as this thickens your stew.
- Stir in the ketchup and margarine and take off the heat.