Meatless Monday – Crock Pot Bean & Wild Rice Stew

What a humdinger of a weekend! Guy traveled for work. Wrong place at the wrong time on the rugby pitch sent Teen to six hours in the ER, leaving with a full arm cast. Tween got stuck in a snowstorm that dumped 6-10 inches in about 12 hours on Winter Camp, closed the roads, and provided an unexpected Snow Day off school.

I could barely get my head in the game this work-at-home Monday, attention bouncing between the to-do list and updates on the camp crew. No time or desire to grocery shop (for a hot second I thought about ordering groceries online for the first time), I needed a simple recipe for cozy comfort food.

Out came the crock pot. I had purchased a dried bean mix from Whole Foods’ bulk bins and a package of wild rice from Trader Joe’s. Combined with needed-to-be-used wilting celery, a half an onion, and a couple of heirloom carrots, and we had the makings for a stick-to-your-bones veggie stew.beans & rice

Use your favorite beans and grains and this recipe couldn’t be much easier. My kids love coming home from school to this smell permeating the house; a few hours of inhaling the delicious scent and they happily plow through a bowl (or two) of veggie goodness at dinnertime. In the past I’ve made a separate pot of barley or bulgur wheat and served beans atop grains but, as I said, today I was going for one-pot simple. I haven’t made this spicy, but if spicy’s your deal, then add extra spices for sure. One recipe I consulted suggested adding liquid smoke – and maybe I will next time! I put sriracha and chipotle hot sauce on the table and we add heat as desired.

Crock Pot Bean & Wild Rice Stew
Serves 4-6

1 1/2 cups dried beans
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute or no-salt herb mix
3 bay leaves
3 c veggie broth
2 c boiling water
½ large white or yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-in. sliced on a diagonal
2 ribs celery, diced
1 tsp kosher salt
1 c wild rice
3 c boiling water

Put first 7 ingredients in a 4- to 6-qt. slow-cooker. Cover and cook on high 1 hour. Add remaining ingredients. Cook on high another 2-4 hours until most liquid has been absorbed and beans are very tender. Remove bay leaves and serve with your favorite hot sauce.
Note: If you opt to cook grains separately, do not add the last 3 c water to crock pot.
bean stew

While the crock pot did its thing, I took the dog on a brisk-beautiful walk around the neighborhood. Step for step with the up-and-down events of this weekend, we’ve had rain, sun, pea-sized hail, rainbows, and crystal-clear blue skies. We may not know what any day – or hour – may hold, but we can be sure: spring is coming.yellow


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