3clovesgarlic(or 2 tsp ready-chopped garlic from a jar or tube)
400gtin borlotti beans
400gtin cannellini beans
1tspvegetable stock powder
1tspdried oregano(and/or dried thyme)
1tspbrown sugar(or maple syrup, date syrup or agave)
handfulbaby spinach or curly kale
To make on the hob / stovetop:
Heat the olive oil in a deep lidded frying pan or casserole.
Finely chop the onion and leek and cook gently for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften.
Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the carrot, trim and chop the celery, and peel and crush the garlic cloves. Add to the pan and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
Trim and slice the red pepper and add to the pan. Season well with salt and black pepper.
Drain and rinse the borlotti beans and cannellini beans, and tip both into the pan.
Add the passata and water (you can just refill the empty passata carton half way with water, to save measuring this separately). Then add the stock powder, oregano, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Bring to the boil then cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and is thick and glossy.
Remove any thick stalks from the spinach or kale, then stir through the stew for the last two minutes of cooking. Taste and adjust seasoning if required. Serve with steamed green vegetables or a crisp side salad and sourdough bread.
To make in a slow cooker:
Follow instructions 1-4 above, then tip the softened vegetables into your slow-cooker.
Drain and rinse the tinned beans and add to the slow-cooker, followed by the passata, water, stock powder, oregano, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar.
Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 5-6 hours, adding the spinach or kale as above for the last 10 minutes of cooking time. Taste and adjust seasoning as required.