I’m hoping last night was one of the last snow “storms”, but it is Northern Alberta so I won’t be holding my breath. Last time I was out here it snowed 16 inches on the May long weekend…So, like a said…not keeping my hopes up.
But you know what? Snow isn’t all that bad.
There’s something peaceful about being in a cabin, toasty and warm, looking out the window and feeling like you’re in a snowball. The world kinda melts away. There is a heavy silence that seems to fall over the little place I currently call home. Perfect for yoga or a good book. You know what else is great about the snow? Tracks.
Today I saw a nice set of moose tracks, 2 moose actually and deer tracks. I even saw the littlest, cutest bunny tracks you ever did see in the freshly fallen snow. So freakin’ cute!
It’s expected to warm up for the next few days, which means it’s red rubber boot season!
Yeah for splashing in big muddy puddles! All those into puddle jumping say “Whohooo”!
Shortly after that it’s running season.
One thing about this particular spot of Alberta is that it is sandy. Beach like in spots actually. Sure, it’s not great for growing plants but fantastic for good water drainage. This means that by the time I get tired of splashing in puddles, they’ve all dried up and I can lace up the sneaks.
Since it’s still cold, I’m still craving hot soups and stews. This smoky white bean and red pepper kale stew is great for using some of those fresh spring greens you’ll be able to get at the farmers market.
Because I’m limited with space, I didn’t bring any vegetable stock with me, so I need to make it as I go along. This recipe essential starts by making a vegetable stock, but retains the vegetables used. To do this, you’ll want to be careful not to over cook the vegetables, where as if you where making a stock and ditching the veg afterwards, it wouldn’t matter.
Fresh lemon juice is essential here so don’t skip it. It’s what lightens the heaviness of the paprika and brightens all the flavors that would otherwise taste a bit lacking. Serve with extra lemon wedges and lots of fresh parsley to really bring it to life.
For the meat lovers in the crew, Italian sausage would be a hearty addition.
Smoky White Beans and Red Pepper Stew
serves 2 or 3
- 1 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 onion, cut in wedged
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 cups of water
In a medium sized pot over medium high heat, add oil, onions and celery. Cook for 3 minutes or until the onions begin to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and allow it to come to a simmer for 15 minutes.
- 1 red pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 cups cooked white beans
- 1 1/2 tsp of smoked Spanish paprika (more if you like it spicy)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups of stewing greens, (one or a mix of kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, turnip greens, beet greens)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- juice of 1/2 lemon
Add the chopped red pepper, white beans and paprika to the pot. Continue to simmer until red pepper is tender, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the kale to the pot, cover with a lid and cook until greens are tender, about 4 minutes. Add the lemon juice and stir to combine the flavors. Serve garnished with plenty of parsley, a wedge of lemon and crusty bread.
What’s your favorite spring time stew? Let me know in the comments below!