Mélange of Heirloom Beans, Corn, and Veggies

Hello friends! I am happy to be back with an actual recipe today! This weekend during my meal prep bonanza, I actually remembered to take some notes while cooking. I had a feeling this bowl would come out nicely, despite not knowing what to call the final product.

Enter my dear pal Fiona. It's not quite a chowder, nor a chili, nor even a soup. Potpourri evokes too much of the cloying scent of dried flowers. But mélange sounded just right. Thank you Fiona for helping put a title to this bowl of goodness. Though everything might just be called a mélange now as I so often just put together a hodge podge of random seasonal ingredients and pantry staples to keep us well fed for the week. Ah well, a trained chef I am not, but it doesn't preclude me from sharing some good home cooking. ;)

One of the stars of the dish was yet another new variety of bean from Rancho Gordo: Ayocote Amarillo. I have enjoyed every variety of heirloom bean I have tried from RG so far! It is a joy to have the opportunity to experience such variety in my kitchen. Always fun to see how they transform from dried to cooked, as these deepened up so much in their hue. Though if you don't have these beans, you could easily substitute the more readily available red beans or white beans you can find in any local grocery store. If you really want to make it easy, grab a few cans if cooking them from scratch is too intimidating.

In addition to the gorgeous beans, I had gotten a nice haul of fresh celery, bell peppers, onions, corn and jalapeño peppers from the farmers market this weekend. I had a feeling they would all marry quite well with just a bit of broth and plenty of dried herbs and spices. A hit of lime at the end truly made the whole dish pop! Again, the corn here is absolute perfection when in season, but you can easily substitute frozen corn in a pinch.

Without further ado...

Mélange of Heirloom Beans, Corn, and Veggies

Makes approximately 6 servings

  • 1 pound Ayocote Amarillo or other dried beans, cooked or 2-3 (14-ounce) cans
  • 1 small onion, peeled & diced
  • 1 heaping cup chopped celery (any leafy greens reserved for garnish)
  • 2 large green bell peppers, seeded & chopped (~1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded & minced
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic, peeled & minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 4 ears fresh corn, kernels or 1 (10-ounce) package frozen corn
  • 4 cups low-sodium or homemade vegetable broth
  • lime juice to garnish

Cook the dried beans according to package instructions. I soaked mine overnight, then cooked them the day before I made the full dish. Set aside. Alternately, rinse and drain a few cans of pre-cooked beans.

Heat a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion through the peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking, for about 8 minutes or until the vegetables have softened.

Next stir in the garlic and the spices. Cook for just a minute before adding in the cooked beans, fresh corn kernels and broth. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, then reduce back down to medium low. Partially cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes, or longer to really let the flavors meld.

Once cooked to your liking, remove from heat and stir in some fresh lime juice and any chopped reserved fresh celery leaves. The celery from the farmers market always seems to have lots of leaves perfect for an herb-y garnish. If you don't have fresh celery leaves, you could also use fresh parsley or cilantro! I would say the lime juice is a non-negotiable as it really brightens the whole bowl up.

Despite the summer heat really coming on strong this week, we are still very much enjoying this bowl. We tend to eat a yummy meal like this closer to room temperature rather than straight off the heat. Very satisfying yet not overly heavy with the light, flavorful broth and sweet bite of locally grown sweet corn.

Happy to have this one down for the recipe bank to be able to make this one again!

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