Dinner time at our house is anywhere between 5.30pm – 6.30pm. Considering I live with a spaniard who used to eat at 10pm, this has been a period of (very) slow adjustment. Now we wouldn’t have it any other way – one meal, one mess and of course, the loveliness (read: chaos) of eating together every night.
But cooking one thing that everyone likes does inevitably mean that chillies and stronger spices are often left out to cater for little palates. So the beauty of ‘assemble your own dinners’ such as this one is that they can be adjusted to the tastes of big and little people alike – it’s easy to get a good dose of heat with your meal by adding, in this case, jalapeños.
The following recipe can be adapted to suit whatever vegetables you have in your fridge – roasted cauliflower would work well, as would chargrilled broccoli, roasted carrots etc. I’ve made this version vegetarian because I’m trying to incorporate more meat-free dishes into the weekly rotation but you could easily add some beautiful sliced BBQ chicken thigh or beef fillet or smokey bacon to the beans. Don’t be limited by what i’ve included here – anything goes (well almost)!
For the bean salsa
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp smokey paprika
1 x 400g tin cannellini beans
1 x 400g tin red kidney beans
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 oven roasted red pepper, chopped (optional)
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups cooked quinoa or brown rice
1/2 butternut pumpkin, cut in 1/2cm thick slices
2 cobs corn
2 avocados, diced
A couple of handfuls of baby spinach
2 fresh limes
Goats curd, natural yoghurt or sour cream
Jalapeños, sliced (optional)
If you are adding roasted red pepper to your beans, drizzle the red pepper with oil and place in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for approx 1 hour, or until cooked. Your pepper should be nicely charred on the outside with lovely soft flesh. Set aside and allow to cool. Remove skin, scrape out seeds and dice the flesh ready to add to your beans.
Drizzle pumpkin with a little olive oil and cook in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for approx 25 mins or until cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside.
For the bean salsa, saute the onion in a little olive oil until soft. Add the garlic and spices and saute for a further 2 minutes. Add the beans, tomatoes, red pepper (if using) and chicken stock to the saucepan. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for approx 10 minutes or until the liquid has reduced slightly. Freeze any leftover beans to use on jacket potatoes/toast with goats cheese etc.
Meanwhile, remove the husks from your corn and coat corn with a little olive oil. Chargrill your corn in a grill pan or on the BBQ for approximately 10 minutes, until kernels are cooked and the outside is nice and charred. Leave to cool slightly and then slice the kernels off with a sharp knife.
To serve, place all individual ingredients in their own bowls and let everyone help themselves! Maybe keep the jalapeños away from little hands…
Serves 4 with leftover beans…