This is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s version of Chilean squash and bean stew and it is absolutely delicious. The subtle mingling of sweet smoked paprika and marjoram is a real education in combining flavours, while the soft, almost disintegrating squash is like a big warm cuddle on a winter’s night.
This works best when made with fresh corn on the cob or tinned sweet corn. For some reason frozen corn just doesn’t do the job.
RECIPE – Feeds 4
150g dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight (or one 400g tin)
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 litre vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
750g butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and cut into bite-size chunks
200g French beans, cut into 2 or 3cm lengths
the kernels from 2 sweetcorn cobs, or two tins
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Soak the beans overnight in cold water. The next day drain and then rinse the beans well in running water. Place the beans in a large pan and cover with fresh cold water, bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes or until tender. If you have a pressure cooker the job is much quicker; follow the instructions for your own device, but mine takes around 23 minutes to cook the beans.
Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and gently saute the onions for ten minutes until softened and just beginning to colour. Turn the heat right down, add the garlic, paprika and marjoram and cook very gently for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the rinsed beans, squash and bay leaf and stir well so everything is well coated, then add the stock and turn the heat up; bring to the boil then simmer for 15-20 minutes until the squash is tender.
At this point you can turn the heat off, cover it and allow the flavours to develop for a few hours – it tastes even better! However, you can move straight on…
…add the French beans and corn, simmer for 5 minutes, then season with salt and pepper.
The only thing required to complete this dish is a few slices of crusty wholemeal or sourdough bread.