I bent the rules slightly here by using up some butternut squash in place of pumpkin and as various substitutions for those who cannot lay their hands on cranberry or navy beans are suggested, I feel I’m doing justice to the spirit of the dish.
We are informed that this dish is originally from Chile (Porotos is the Chilean word for beans) although it has ‘decided Indian overtones’ in terms of its ingredients and that the corn/pumpkin combination is also popular in the Basque country and Aquitaine.
Beans with Corn and Pumpkin (Porotos Granados)
250g small dried beans
2 tablespoons mild paprika
4 tablespoons corn oil
2 medium onions finely chopped
2 green chillies, seeded, chopped
Kernels from 2 large ears of corn or 250g frozen sweetcorn
½ pumpkin cut in cubes
½ kilo tomatoes, skinned, chopped
½ teaspoon oregano
Soak and boil the beans in unsalted water until tender [or just open a tin]. Drain them, but keep their liquid. Meanwhile heat the paprika with the oil and fry the onions slowly until they are soft. Add the remaining ingredients, and simmer steadily for 5 minutes. If the mixture seems at all dry, add a little of the reserved bean liquid then add the beans. Cover and simmer for a further 15 minutes.
The pumpkin will disintegrate and thicken as it does in the Argentinean Carbonada on p424 [Carbonada is a lengthy stew recipe which is stuffed in a hollowed out pumpkin and finished with peaches. Don’t expect me to make that in the near future.]
The hot chillies add liveliness to the dish – this can be emphasised with cayenne pepper if the chillies have been badly stored, with consequent loss of flavour.
- I used a 240g tin of navy beans (I.e. I was cooking the recipe at about 1/3 quantities which produced about a litre of stew.)
- I used tinned tomatoes and corn
- I omitted the oregano completely
- I cooked the dish for longer than 15 minutes as the squash needed longer to soften disintegrate. I kept the lid on the pan and the water released by the cooking vegetables prevented the dish from drying up.
- I used hot smoked paprika as I don’t own mild.
This is a very thick stew with a bright, spicy flavour which I would consider suitable for any time of year. I ate it with a wedge of cheese scone but think it would do just as well with rice or as an accompaniment to grilled meat or stuffed in a pitta bread.
Stewed by Elly