I was recently contacted by Canned Food UK, a not for profit organisation promoting the benefits and affordability of cooking with canned foods. Now, I’ll admit I don’t buy that much canned food in general. Apart from coconut milk and things like kidney beans its quite rare to find that many tins in my cupboard, so this was a great challenge for me.
The guys at canned food sent me over a box of canned foods including pulses, beans, fruit and veg as well as a voucher to buy a few extra bits and bobs to come up with a recipe using the canned goods.
I was quite surprised to read about the benefits of canned foods. Some I already knew about like omega 3 fatty acids in things like tinned salmon and and sardines, but things like the antioxidants and vitamin C in canned fruit I was less aware of. Canned fruit and vegetables in their own juice count towards your 5 a day as well.
As Winter is fast approaching I chose to make a hearty and warming stew with my cans – using lots of different types of bean as well as plum tomatoes.
The canned beans are a great source of fibre and folic acid, whilst tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene which has been linked to a reduced incidence of some types of cancer.
Smokey Chorizo and Three Bean Stew (Serves 4-6)
- 200g cooking chorizo, cut into about 5mm slices
- 1x 400g tin butter beans
- 1x 400g tin borlotti beans
- 1 x 400g tin cannelini beans or kidney beans
- 1 x 400g tin plum tomatoes
- 500ml vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic finely sliced
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 2 tbsp tomatoe pureé
- 2 dried chipotle chillies – rehydrated for 20mins in hot water
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 yellow pepper deseeded and cut into roughly 1cm pieces
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large heavy based frying pan or casserole dish on the stove. Add in the oil. When hot add the onion and garlic and fry over a medium heat for 5-10 mins until soft, taking care not to burn the onions.
Add to this the chorizo, pepper, chilli flakes and whole dried chillies and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Mix in the tomato pureé so all is coated and then add the tomatoes to the pan and break up a little with the wooden spoon.
Add the drained tins of beans and fresh thyme and then stir well. Add in the chicken stock.
Turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling turn down the heat to low and leave to simmer for 20-30 minutes until slightly reduced and thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the whole chillies before serving.
Serve with some fresh crusty bread or with some brown rice on the side.
The result is a really tasty stew with a great depth of flavour and a lovely smokey tang. If you’re vegetarian you could easily leave out the chorizo too and maybe add in an extra red pepper instead. It’s easy to make and great for those autumn and winter nights.
If you’ve been inspired to try using more canned foods, why not try using canned fruit for a lovely winter crumble or canned vegetables to make a soup. For me the cans are not going to ever replace using fresh produce, but I certainly think I will have a little more variety in my cupboard for convenience and affordability, and won’t need to worry about them not having nutritional benefit!
For more info and recipe inspiration follow them on twitter @cannedfoodUK or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CannedFoodUK