Vegan White Bean Stew (yields 4 qts)
By Chef Paul Eschbach
12 oz Dry White Beans (soaked overnight in water)
8 oz Small Diced Onion
4 oz Sliced Leeks
8 oz Small Diced Celery
8 oz Small Diced Carrots
1 ea Tomato Quartered
I Bunch Tuscan Kale Sliced Thin
4 oz Olive Oil
4 Tbs White Miso Paste (for the stock)
2 Sprigs Rosemary
2 Sprigs Thyme
1 ea Bay Leaf
2 Qts Veggie Stock fortified with the 4 tbs of White Miso
For the Soup
In a large pot (I used a 7.25 qt le creuset), sweat the carrots till they begin to soften. Add the onions and leek and celery and sweat till aromatic. Add the White Beans and cover with vegetable stock. You may need more or less depending on the size of your pot. Bring to a gentle simmer and add the tomato. Cook covered till beans are just tender checking on your stock levels and making sure the beans don't stick. Wrap the rosemary and thyme and bay leaf in a nice bundle to keep rosemary sprigs from getting lost in your soup. Remove the lid, add your herb bundle and kale and continue to simmer till the beans and soup is cooked your liking. Remove the bundle after 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs Cilantro Fine Julienne
2 Tbs Parsley Fine Julienne
1 orange, 1 lemon and 1 lime Microplane the Zest
1 clove Garlic Microplaned or Grated
T.t. Flake Sea Salt
2-4 oz Olive Oil
1 tbs Miso
For the Gremolata
Mix the Olive Oil and Miso till well combined. Add the garlic and zest and mix well. Mix in the herbs. If you have a mortar and pestle you can use it to crush the herbs into the oil mixture. Finish with salt to taste.
To serve, spoon the gremolata over the stew to your liking. Serve with a side of crusty bread with vegan butter!
About a year ago on a road trip to my boys 40th, my wife made me listen to an Oprah podcast with Suzy Cameron about One Meal a Day for the Planet. Listening to this conversation brought everything I had known and heard and tied into a neat package of accessibility. I didn't need to be 100% vegan, I needed to eat differently and be mindful of what I was eating for myself and family in whatever way that I could balance.
I've always been conscious of how much meat I ate, especially after returning from living abroad. Working as a Chef abroad and in the US, I saw first hand how relentless our meat consumption was. Shit it was my job! But I had never cared to personally do anything about it. Much like drinking alcohol I felt like the need to eat meat was ingrained in my Chefness. By chance I was also at the end of a sober semester and decided that we had to give it a try. Three months of no booze and I felt more clarity and courage to take on another challenge. How hard could it be, not to mention we had just started “stay at home” in the beginning of Covid so why not throw another challenge in the mix?
Turned out it wasn’t hard at all. To be honest, we pretty much gave up meat and cheese for every meal 5-6 days a week. Meal planning was easy, cook time was easy, clean up was easy and we felt better. I know and have heard the argument that being able to decide what to eat is a privilege and some cultures or people don't have the means to give up or have other food easily available so I know what was easy for me isn't for everyone.
A year later I’m living with my 73 year old father in-law as he battles cancer trying to find ways to help him see that you don't need meat at every meal. This simple stew was one meal we've made for him. 100% he would probably need a “Beyond” sausage thrown in there next time. But he's open to one meal a week vegan and that’s a win and a start. Baby steps and however you get where you are going is totally cool.