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Serves 6

I was once a resident, for a fabulous 18 months, of Framingham, Massachusetts.  If you don’t know Framingham, well, it’s ok as towns go – they conducted the Framingham Heart Studies there, people were super friendly, there are some lovely places to visit around there like the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) in Dorchester, Conchord and Walden Pond and I seem to remember a story about the first arrest of a man for wearing a beard taking place in Framingham!  The Chicken Bone bar was fantastically welcoming and fun too but on the whole there wasn’t much of note to shout about, although I should mention that it was 11 years ago that I was forced back to the UK so I can’t speak for current day Framingham!

However, Framingham has excellent rail links to the wonderful Bean Town, or Boston to non-residents and residents alike! I hung out there…A LOT…and I miss it terribly.  Having recently been catching up on my U.S. TV series, namely ’30 Rock’ and ‘American Horror + Asylum’, I have been having a terrible lusting for ol’ Bean Town (there are some convincing and not so convincing Boston accents going on in both programmes!) and having found some black beans in the back of the cupboard – one of my favourite beans in the world – I had to make something in homage.

Bean Town is honoured in this north african inspired black bean, chicken and spinach stew- GO BRUINS!

Bean Town is honoured in this north african inspired black bean, chicken and spinach stew- GO BRUINS!

Serve with a delicious crusty roll or have as a main with rice or tortillas

Serve with a delicious crusty roll or have as a main with rice or tortillas

This is a non-vegetarian soup as I realise that I have posted an awful lot of veggie soups on the blog so far and, although I am a pescatarian (that’s not my religion – it means I eat fish but not meat!) I know that not everybody is and so….tada…concession!  To make it vegetarian just use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and quorn chucks instead of chicken.  If you don’t like or have never heard of quorn – not sure how global its reach is – just leave it out. There’s plenty of protein in the beans and this soup is low fat and full of fibre too.

Ingredients

350g soaked, cooked and drained black beans

1 tbsp. vegetable/olive oil (10g)

1-2 x cloves garlic, peeled, finely diced (7g)

½ – 1 x green or red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped (6g)

 250g chicken breast, fat trimmed, cut into mouth-sized chunks

**or**

250g quorn chunks, defrosted

1 x white onion, peeled and diced (155g)

1 x red pepper, de-seeded, chopped into small pieces (125g)

2 small carrots, topped and tailed, peeled, cut into 1cm cubes (120g)

½ tsp. powdered cumin

½ tsp. smoked or regular powdered paprika

½ ground black pepper

800 ml chicken or vegetable stock (1 x 10g cube)

400g canned tomatoes, chopped

300g frozen spinach (about 10 balls)

1 tsp. powdered cumin

½ tsp. smoked or regular powdered paprika

Black pepper to taste

4 cloves (optional)

Instructions

  • Soak the black beans in cold water overnight – unless you are lucky enough to live somewhere where you can buy ready-cooked black beans in cans – I’m well jell of you do! Cook in boiling water for approximately 1 – 1.5 hours until soft. Drain and set aside for later.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chilli and ginger and fry for 30-60 seconds to infuse the oil with their flavour.
  •  If using chicken, add to the pan with ½ tsp. cumin, ½ tsp. paprika and ½ tsp. ground black pepper. Stir regularly until browned on outside.
  •  Add the onion, red pepper and carrots and the quorn chunks, if you are using this instead of chicken.  Fry for approximately 6-8 minutes, until softened.
  •  Add the stock, tomatoes, spinach, cooked black beans and the rest of the cumin and paprika. Add more black pepper if desired.
  •  Add the cloves to the soup. I got creative and put them into one of those loose leaf tea strainer things so that I didn’t have to fish around for them or risk chomping down on one halfway through eating my stew!  If you don’t have one then you may just need to take this risk!
  •  Bring to the boil then reduce heat, cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.
You haven't had beans til you've bean to Boston!

You haven’t had beans til you’ve bean to Boston!

Nutritional Information

Per Batch

Energy                 2000  kcal (8368 kJ)

Carbohydrate    138.8g

Total sugars        44.7g

Fat                          25.9g

Saturates             3.4g

Protein                 107.0g

Fibre                      47.0g

Salt                         6.1g

Per Serving (Serves 6)

Energy                   334 kcal (1398 kJ)

Carbohydrate     23.1g

Total sugars        7.5g

Fat                          4.3g

Saturates             0.6g

Protein                 17.8g

Fibre                      7.8g

Salt                         1.0g

Suggested Additions

1 x tbsp. of reduced fat fromage frais = 30 kcal/ 125 kJ

1 x tbsp. of soured cream = 62kcal/ 260 kJ

1 x white crusty bread roll (50g) = 130kcal / 545 kJ

150g of boiled white/brown rice = 210kcal / 880 kJ

30g nacho/tortilla chips = 140 kcal / 586 kJ

200g sweet potato chips or wedges (cooked in 1/2 tbsp. oil) =220 kcal / 921 kJ

–          Use butternut squash instead and it will be only 72kcal / 302 kJ

Suggested Ear Candy

So, with the promise of a delicious bean-laden dinner of stew on the horizon and thoughts of Boston, MA on my mind, I had to pay yet another visit down Memory Lane. 

Cake were a band I discovered whilst I was living in the U.S. thanks to the fandom of my particularly lovely friend, dancing buddy and housemate, Dan from Canada. Nostalgia is a passion of mine and part of the reason I started this blog was so I could make myself opportunities and excuses to listen to the old, forgotten CDs of my lesser years. 

Fashion Nugget by Cake is one that I get out on a fairly regular basis.  It’s fun, quirky, incredibly danceable and singalongable and has 2 of the best cover songs on it that I have ever heard – especially ‘Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps’, originally a Doris Day number I believe.

 

 Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps by Cake, with a hilarious video and English/Italian subtitles in case you want to do any wooing!

Cake – official band website

 

Here’s a wee something from Boston locals, The Dropkick Murphys too – some great views of the Charles River with the Pru’ and John Hancock towers in the background – *sigh*

 

The Dropkick Murphys – official band website

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