Friday, February 6, 2009

Black Bean & Vegetable Ragout

Ragout refers to a stew to be served as itself or with a main dish and also to sauce for starchy foods like noodles or pasta.Basically it is a French stew slow cooked and can contain meat,vegetables,legumes or combo and choice of seasonings and spices.Each cuisine has its own way of naming a dish.What we call as stew in English is Ragout in French or Goulash in German.This is just a generalization,subcategories and subtle differences sometimes based on ingredients and region do exist though.For example,ratatouille is a stew from French province of Nice and Pepperonata is an Italian stew made of peppers as main ingredient.Goulashes are East European cousins of English stew.I found a simple blackbean ragout here and enhanced it with more vegetables to obtain a hearty,filling and healthy side dish.

Black Beans: 1/4 cup presoaked and cooked
Onion: 1 small
Garlic: 1 clove

Optional Mixed Veggies
(Carrot: 1 small
Zucchini: 1 small
Green Bell Pepper: 1 very small or 1/2 )

Fresh Thyme -2-3 sprigs
Vegetable Broth(optional): 1/2 cup
Tomatoes:2 medium
Tomato Paste/Puree/Juice
Olive Oil :2-3 tsp

Cook the blackbeans in pressure cooker,till almost done.We can later finish the cooking with the other ingredients.Finely chop onions and mince garlic.Chop the mixed veggies if using into bite sized pieces.You can avoid the veggies altogether and use beans only as well.

Heat olive oil in a thick bottomed pan.Add the onion,garlic and carrot and bell pepper to it.Add thyme,little salt and pepper and saute till it begins to cook.Add the beans along with the water in which it is cooked,broth and chopped tomatoes and tomato paste/puree/juice and bring it to boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes until the gravy thickens and the required stew like consistency is reached.Add cubed zucchini(if using) in the last 10 minutes,so that it is correctly cooked.If other vegetables are used,add the quick cooking veggies in the last few minutes of cooking and adjust salt and pepper.Serve as a hearty side with rice or breads.

You can avoid broth if needed or even reduce it and use water or tomato juice or more chopped tomatoes.If using canned crushed tomatoes,also add in the brine/syrup in which they came.I added only 1/2 cup of broth and then added little water and also the water in which the beans are cooked.I also used 1 chopped tomato and also 1-2 tbsp of tomato paste.Even after 15-20 minutes there is more liquid in the dish,increase the heat and let it boil for a few minutes until the stew consistency is reached.

A warm bowl of this hearty bean dish is on way to My Legume Love Affair -8th helping, this time hosted by the creator herself-Susan,the well seasoned cook.

Another warm bowl goes to dear DK who is AWED by French Cuisine and is wondering at the lighted and very beautiful Eiffel Tower about her Blue Ribbon/Cordon Bleu ,Bon Appetit!

Also if you like,you can use soaked beans directly.You follow the method and instead of adding cooked beans,added soaked and rinsed beans,water and the rest and cook for 2-3 hours on stovetop or in a pressurecooker till done.To be used as a sauce,puree the dish in a blender either finely or with chunks as per taste.


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