Home alone -Dilly Bean Stew with Frizzled Onions

For the past six months my partner has been away for most of the time, so I’ve been home alone with my teenage son. On the food front my son and I often part ways about on what is most desirable to eat – there is only so much noodles and pasta I can handle. Sometimes you just have to give up and make food that you want to eat. This Dilly Bean Stew from Alison Roman is perfect for those times when you’re home alone cooking for one. It uses canned beans and a simple ingredient list. Fresh dill is expensive at the moment but if you’re home alone you need to live a little.

I used the leftover cabbage to make this Bon Apetit stir fried udon noodles with pork and cabbage for my son. I ate my dilly bean stew three days in a row and we were both happy. If you’re not a teenager this stew is a very satisfying meal in a bowl with or without bread. Fortuitously this stew tastes even better the next day. If you want an extra protein boost an egg poached in the stew as you reheat it is also very good. This winter in Sydney has been long and cold and so very, very wet. We’re all obsessed with the price of vegetables, black mould and leaking roofs. This bean stew with a dollop of creme fraiche is both lush and simple and so very, very comforting. A one pot, one bowl meal that will last you for a few days.

Dilly Bean Stew with Frizzled Onions

4 servings

Adapted from Alison Roman

  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (Optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, (add extra two tablespoons of oil if not using butter)
  • 1 large onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2x 400g white beans – navy, cannellini, butter or a combination of both (drained and rinsed)
  • 4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock ( I use Maissel chicken style stock)
  • 1/4 head of cabbage (About 250 – 300g) core removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar or lemon juice (Vinegar is best option)
  • 1 cup of dill coarsely chopped
  • Sour cream or creme fraiche (Optional but very good)
  1. Heat butter and olive oil in a medium size pan of a medium high heat. Add sliced onions to the pan and add salt and pepper. Fry onions without turning too much until browned and frizzled about 8-10 minutes. You are not caramelising the onions, so don’t have the heat too low but keep a sharp watch on the onions so they don’t burn. When onions are nice and brown and frizzled remove 1/4 of the browned onions with a slotted spoon and set aside for topping later.
  2. Place drained white beans in pan with browned onion. Squash the white beans against the side or the pan or with a potato masher. You don’t want the beans completely mashed just some of them to release the starch to create a thickened broth. Add stock and simmer gently for about 15 minutes until the stew has reduced down and become soupy and stewy. Add cabbage and vinegar and stir through the stew until wilted. Simmer until cabbage is completely tender and flavors are melded, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in half the dill. Add more salt, pepper and vinegar to taste.
  4. Serve in bowls topped with dill, reserved frizzled onions and dash of olive oil. Live a little and add a dollop of softened butter, sour cream or creme fraiche .

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