Kidney beans are iffy for me. They have a little bit of an aftertaste to me that is similar to black-eyed peas, and it's that funky aftertaste that makes it impossible for me to eat black-eyed peas.
And please don't say "Oh, but you've never tried my black-eyed peas." I can't tell you how many times I've had people say that. I probably haven't tried your black-eyed peas, but I can guarantee that I won't like them. I haven't run across anything that can hide that funkiness. Anything. Ok?
I can eat kidney beans, but not usually by themselves. But they're really good for you, at least according to the World's Healthiest Foods, so I want to eat more of them. I've always liked to put them in my chicken and vegetable soups, and (purists might want to turn away for a moment) in my chili, because that odd little aftertaste isn't so obvious when there are fifty other ingredients in the bowl vying for my tongue's attention.
So when I first came across this recipe for Nigerian Kidney Bean Stew in Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian, I wasn't so sure it was something I wanted to try. There's a recipe I've had for years called African Chicken (note to self: Must make that again!) that uses tomato sauce and peanut butter so I knew I liked that combination, but I wasn't sure how I would like the kidney beans as the star of the show. But I had already made a couple of recipes from the book with much success, so I decided it was worth the risk.
And it was. The peanut butter and tomato sauce base is the perfect vehicle for highlighting what is tasty about kidney beans, and that strange aftertaste I dislike so much disappears in this dish. It's quite tasty with brown rice, but it's also really good with whole wheat couscous. And if you don't have any couscous or brown rice ready, it's awfully good all by itself.
Home Cookin 4.9 Chapter: Soups and Stews
Nigerian Kidney Bean Stew with Peanut Sauce
Serves 4 to 6
1-1/2 cup dried red kidney or pinto beans
salt to taste
2 Tbsp peanut or canola oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/2 large green pepper, chopped into small dice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cup canned tomato sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
Soak and cook beans; do not drain. Add salt, stir to mix, and leave in cooking liquid.
Put the oil in a wide, medium pot and set over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and pepper. Stir and fry just until onion has turned translucent, turning heat down as needed. Add cumin and stir once. Put in the tomato sauce, cayenne, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup water. Stir and bring to simmer. Turn heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, put peanut butter in a small bowl. Slowly add about 6 tablespoons of cooking liquid from beans, mixing continuously. Stir this mixture back into the pot of beans.
When tomato mixture has finished cooking, pour into the pot of beans. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn heat down to low, and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot.
from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey (Clarkson Potter, 1999)