I started out intending to make a Cuban bean and pumpkin stew from one of Madhur Jaffrey's books. I didn't have enough of the ingredients on hand to get the full Cuban flair, so I merged the base of navy beans and pumpkin with another MJ recipe to make this simple yet hearty and satisfying soup. Note, this calls for dried beans, soaking overnight is preferable but you can use the quick method too.
- 1 1⁄2 cups dried navy beans
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt (up to 1 tsp depending on your broth)
- 4 cups fresh pumpkin, chopped (about a 1 inch dice)
- 4 cups vegetable broth (up to 5 depending on how you like it)
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water. To use the quick method, rinse the beans and then add them to a large pot with enough water to cover them by about an inch. Bring to a boil, let boil for 5 minutes then turn off the heat and leave covered for an hour. Either method, drain the beans when you're ready to start!
- Warm the olive oil in a soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add in the diced onion and saute for about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so.
- To the cooking onions and garlic, add in the bay leaves, salt and herbs. A note on the herbs: I crush dried whole herbs saved from the garden, you could use fresh, either way chop well. If using ground versions, use much less, around 1/3 tsp each.
- Once the onions are nicely translucent and lightly browned add in the beans, pumpkin and broth. Adjust seasoning and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium low, cover and leave to cook for about 45 minutes, stirring from time to time. Remove the lid for the last 15 minutes of cooking if you want to reduce the amount of broth and have it more stew like.
- If you used the quick soak method for the beans, it will need to cook slightly longer, about an hour.