Happy Triduum! As Holy Week nears its close on this most sacred of Fridays, "happy" might seem out of place, but I said it because I think there really can be a quiet joy and beauty found in the Cross. In honor of today's fast, I present you with this simple supper. We tried to not eat meat as often as possible this Lent, which turned out to equal lots and lots of beans. Just as I was getting kind of tired of the same old Latin beans and rice thing, our friends had us over for dinner and served this Caribbean-inspired stew. With black beans, yams, and a sweet sort of heat, it hits the spot and gives you a good amount of filling protein. If you two are spending Good Friday together, cooking with each other is a nice act of service, and ending your fast at the same time is a great opportunity for prayer and thanks.
|I bet you never thought you'd see beans and weddings in the same place. Well, here you have it.|
Here's the recipe for Caribbean Black Bean Stew:
1 pound dried black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1-4 jalapeño peppers or 1/4 to 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (this all depends on how spicy you like your food)
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
2 yams or sweet potatoes, diced
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 lime (optional)
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
Warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the jalapeños or red pepper flakes, ginger, garlic, allspice, and thyme and stir. Stir and sauté about 3 minutes.
Add the beans, stock, and water. Raise the heat to high and cover. When the mixture boils, lower the heat and simmer until beans are almost tender, about 1 hour. There should always be enough liquid to cover the beans- if too much evaporates, add more stock or water 1 cup at a time.
Stir in the yams, brown sugar, and salt, and bring to a boil once more. Reduce the heat and simmer 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft. Mash some of the beans with the back of a spoon to thicken.
Serve the stew topped with the cilantro and slices of lime.
I'll leave you with this: my favorite thing to contemplate about Christ's Passion is his gift to us of His mother ("Woman, behold your son," "Behold your mother"). It's all about opening ourselves up to receive. Fulton Sheen says it so well:
Once you have surrendered yourself, you make yourself receptive. In receiving from God, you are perfected and completed.
I pray you experience both the ache of Good Friday and the radiant joy of Easter Sunday to their fullest.