You may be familiar with the classic version of this dish made with kombu and squash. When squash is not in season use other seasonal sweet vegetables. Both are delicious, nutritious and strengthening.
- 1½ cups azuki beans, washed and soaked 6 to 8 hours. Keep the soaking water and use when cooking the beans.
- IF SQUASH IS IN SEASON:
- 1 medium winter squash such as kabocha, buttercup, or butternut, cut into 2 square inch pieces. Keep the skin on or leave it off, whatever you prefer.
- IF SQUASH IS NOT IN SEASON:
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 to 2 parsnips, diced
- 1 square inch of kombu sea vegetable, rinsed
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon shoyu
- If you are using onions, sauté them for a few minutes before adding the rest of the vegetables and beans. Otherwise, place the kombu and vegetables in the pot.
- Layer the beans on top of the vegetables and add water just to cover the top of the beans.
- Place a lid on the pot, leaving it partially uncovered.
- Bring to a boil, then cover completely.
- Place a flame deflector under the pot, lower the flame, and simmer 50 minutes to 1 hour.
- Check the liquid level to ensure that the beans are still covered by liquid. Add additional water if needed or use a wooden utensil to immerse the beans in the liquid.
- Replace the cover and continue to simmer on low until the beans are soft, approximately 1½ hours.
- Lightly season with the sea salt and gently fold the ingredients over to blend the salt.
- Continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Add the shoyu and fold to blend. Continue to simmer for another 7 minutes, then serve the Azuki bean stew and enjoy.