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Patti's Black Eye Bean Stew
As the temperature drops and the nights draw in our attention turns to food. So, we thought we'd ask author and chef Patti Sloley to share some more of her recipes with us! Today she talks stew and tomato sauce...
This is a weekend special in boarding schools in Ghana, a family favourite in most Ghanaian homes and a popular street food. If you fancy a vegetarian dish, just leave out the bacon. One of my favourite standby dishes for the fridge.
1 ltr/36floz Maa’s Tomato Sauce
6-8 rashers smoked bacon, chopped
2 x 400g/14oz tins black-eye beans, drained
115g/4oz smoked haddock or salted fish, flaked
1. If using salted fish rinse under running water to remove all salt crystals.
2. Warm the Maa’s Tomato Sauce in a saucepan. Add the chopped bacon and leave to cook on a low simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
3. Pour in the black-eye beans, give it a good stir, add the fish, cover and simmer for roughly 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender.
Serve with fried plantain, plantain fritters, boiled rice, gari, or as a topping for a jacket potato.
If using tinned beans, squeeze a few beans between your thumb and forefinger to make sure they are soft. If not, before step (1), simmer with ½ tsp of bicarbonate of soda until tender.
If, like me, you prefer dried rather than tinned beans you will need to pre-soak and pre-cook until just tender before starting step (1).
Maa’s Tomato Sauce
This is Mum’s version of an African classic and it’s often called gravy. Full-flavoured and adaptable, it forms the basis of almost all our sauces and stews. Simple to make, this spicy tomato sauce is an excellent base for seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes.
As it cooks, it breaks down and thickens to form a partial puree. If you want a smoother sauce just give it a quick whizz with a blender - a good way to conceal wholesome ingredients from fussy eaters. I often prepare a large quantity and freeze in portions.
Makes about ½ ltr/18floz
2 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2cm/1 inch ginger, peeled and halved
2 tsp cayenne pepper or 1 scotch bonnet chilli, to taste
1 tbsp dried prawn powder, optional
400g /14oz tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 chicken stock cube
2 guinea peppers, crushed, optional
small handful of fresh basil leaves
dash of worcester sauce
salt to taste
1. Heat a heavy-based pan, add the oil, then fry and stir the onions until golden.
2. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Leave to simmer until the sauce reduces and intensifies in flavour and the oil separates. This should take about 10-15 minutes.
3. Remove the guinea peppers and ginger.
Your sauce is ready and can be served hot or cold.
I am Ghanaian and have lived in the UK for many years- I believe that one way of bringing people together and raising awareness of each other’s cultures is through food. I am the author of the cookbook ‘A Plate in the Sun’ that shares some of the exciting and delicious dishes we eat in Africa. You can see some sample recipes on www.pattismenu.com
What do you think? Comment below.