Pot-of-Gold Rainbow Stew

Prep: 20 minutes (plus soaking time) Cook: 1-1 1/2 hours

Serves:8

By Ellen Jaffe Jones

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pinto beans, picked over, rinsed, and soaked
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 eggplant, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions

Drain the soaked beans and put them in a large saucepan. Add 3 cups of the water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until tender. Set aside; do not drain.

While the beans cook, put 1 tablespoon of the remaining water and the onions in a large soup pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Stir in the eggplant, green bell pepper, garlic and remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, as it evaporates. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the eggplant begins to soften. Stir in the zucchini, red bell pepper and basil. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the cooked beans and bean liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tip: Substitute 1 can (15 ounces) of pinto beans instead of cooking them yourself. Rinse and drain the beans. Stir the beans and an additional 1/4 cup of water into the vegetable mixture.