I can’t remember any of my friends in Sierra Leone being vegetarian. But I can remeber eating this black-eyed bean and sweet potato stew at their houses and mine without even thinking about it.
I remember downing bowls and bowls and bowls of plantains, beans, akara, oleleh, sweet potato and more. You should see how I stuffed my ‘Foulah man braid’ sandwiches up these delights – all finished perfectly by a spicy oniony gravy.
This stew is reminiscent of those times and combines two of my favourite vegetarian pantry staples of black-eyed beans (also called black-eyed peas) and sweet potato. If you have time then cook the beans from scratch (see how to cook black-eyed beans). If not then use tinned beans.
This really smells gorgeous as you are cooking it. As I have said previously the key to this stew is slicing the onions very thinly and cooking them slowly till they practically melt in your mouth. This is a dry-ish stew but if you want a bit more liquid you can add in some more chopped tomatoes and stock. Please also check out the chicken and sweet potato version of this stew. I think this is going to be my vegetarian Easter recipe.
So here is the second recipe in the black-eyed bean pantry staple spotlight – don’t forget to check out the stewed beans and chorizo recipe. Please try this and serve with rice, plantains or bread. And don’t forget to leave a comment below to tell me what you think.
- 200 g (2 cups) sweet potato
- ½ tsp ground coriander cilantro
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- Ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp + 1 tsp oil
- 6 onions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 bell peppers
- Scotch bonnet chilli to taste optional
- 2 bay leaves
- 210 ml (1 cup) water
- 1 x 400 g (14oz) tin chopped tomato
- 1 jumbo cube optional, see notes
- 500 g cooked beans drained weight or 2x 400 g/14 oz tins
- Pre heat the oven to fan assisted 160ºC/180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.
- Peel and chop sweet potatoes into bite size pieces and season them with ½ tsp coriander, ½ tsp ginger, salt, pepper and 1 tsp oil and mix well
- Slice the onions very thinly, chop the garlic and deseed and chop the peppers and scotch bonnet.
- Bake sweet potato in the oven for up to 30 mins till done. Make sure to stir the cubes at least once during baking so that they cook evenly on all sides
- Heat the remaining oil in a non stick pan and add in the onions, garlic, peppers, scotch bonnet chilli, bay leaves and stir fry for a minute until fragrant.
- Then add in the water, cover and cook on low for about 1 hr till onions are soft stirring occasionally.
- Keep an eye on the water level and if it get gets too dry you might need to add in a few tbsp of water at a time.
- Then add in chopped tomatoes and jumbo cube and simmer for another 30 mins.
- Then add in beans and sweet potato and simmer for another 10 mins so the flavours blend together.
- Adjust seasoning and serve.
You can substitute the scotch bonnet with chillies of your choice.[br] Jumbo cubes (and maggi cubes) are stock cube used to flavour food in West Africa. You can normally find them in shops selling ethnic food. You can substitute with other stock cubes or replace the water with stock of your choice