Black bean green pepper stew with corn crumb
Coarse polenta or corn grits are another gluten-free alternative to rice, with a lovely corn flavour and appealing texture. It’s pretty cheap and makes a nice change. Cooking your own beans is a great life-skill that saves money, gives a superior result and opens the door to other varieties that you can’t easily find in tins. I do often use canned ones, but whenever I cook my own I’m very happy about it. See cooking instructions below recipe. The beans and corn crumb for the stew can both be made in advance and chilled in the fridge for a day or two. Any remaining beans and crumb can be taken for lunch on the following days with a bit of salad on top.
- Corn crumb
- 1 cup coarse polenta/corn grits
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp peanut oil (or other oil suitable for frying)
- 2 cups frozen corn kernels
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 onion, very finely chopped
- Black bean stew
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 green capsicums, chopped into large chunks
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 tsp cumin seed, ground
- 1 chilli, finely chopped, optional
- 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 500g cooked black beans and 350g of the liquid they were cooked in, see pantry notes (or 2 cans black beans with their juice)
- 1 firm avocado, chopped into large chunks
- 1 firm banana, chopped into long chunks
- 1 red capsicum, chopped into large chunks
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- Sprinkle of chopped coriander
- Place polenta/corn grits in a container with 1 cup boiling water (or use vege stock for extra flavour) and salt. Microwave for 4-5 minutes on high until steaming hot. Use a fork to break up into small pieces, like lumpy rice.
- Meanwhile, get a frying pan very hot and add the peanut oil. Cook the frozen corn with salt for 5-10 minutes until nicely browned and smelling like popcorn. Remove from heat, add chopped onion and rest 5 minutes until softened. Mix with cooked polenta.
- For the beans, get olive oil very hot in a frying pan. Add capsicums and salt. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes until browned and softened. Add cumin and tomatoes. Cook another couple of minutes, along with chilli if using. Add beans with their juice and simmer 15 minutes. If you have time you can add another cup of water and simmer for an hour until extra tender and well-combined.
- Make the salsa just before serving, tossing everything into a bowl and mixing gently. Serve beans with corn crumb and salsa.
How to cook dried beans
My favourite way to cook dry beans is to soak them overnight, then in the morning rinse and pop in a slow cooker with 3 cups of water to each cup of beans. Turn on high and come back at the end of the day to beautifully cooked beans with no risk of boiling over or burning on the bottom. Then I salt them and leave to steep overnight — this makes them extra plump and delicious.