Canary Bean Stew with Meatballs ( Frijoles Canarios con Albondigas)

by Erica Dinho on April 9, 2010

I know, I know spring is here and stew is probably the last dish you want to see right now, but as I mentioned before, in Colombia we eat soups and stews all year round. Even on the coast of the country, where it is always very hot, 80-90+ degrees, people eat delicious and hot fish sancocho.

There are those simple dishes that I want to make because I need comfort food, and because they remind me of my grandmother and what she used to make when I was a child. A bean soup with meatballs is that kind of dish for me. When I make it, I remember every detail of those family meals with all my cousins and siblings running around Mamita’s house.

I made these beans for lunch and they were fantastic. I used canary beans instead of pinto beans, which it what Mamita always used. That was the only change I made from Mamita’s dish, so feel free to substitute your favorite beans for the canary beans.

Buen Provecho!



(6 servings)

  • 1 pound dried canary beans
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon color, achiote or sazon Goya with azafran
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1 garlic chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 12 cups water
  • 1large potato, peeled and diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • Meatballs

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/3 cup masarepa
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin


In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Then add the onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes, garlic, scallions and cook for another 3 minutes.

To make the meatballs: In a medium bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients and using your hands, mix well until combined. Divide meat mixture equally into equal portions and roll into balls with your hands. Place in a plate and set aside.

Add the beans, carrots, cumin, color and water to the pot. Bring to a boil. Then cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium- low and cook for about 1 hour.

Add the meatballs and potatoes and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the beans are cooked. (Add additional water, as necessary.) Add salt and pepper, stir and sprinkle fresh cilantro and serve.

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Simply Life April 9, 2010 at 4:35 PM

oh what a comforting looking stew!


2 Barbara April 9, 2010 at 4:52 PM

What a lovely soup, Erica. The avocado on top sets it off perfectly.
I’m assuming masarepa is some sort of thickening agent? Could I use flour or cornmeal?
(And yes, I know how much you love dulce de leche…probably more than me and that’s a lot!!)


3 Sandra G April 9, 2010 at 4:57 PM

Love any kind of beans, now I use the canary beans all the time to make Peruvian food, thank you for this post, now I can make this great dish with them!


4 rebecca subbiah April 9, 2010 at 7:18 PM

looks delicious and great idea to add the avocado to the top have a great weekend


5 Joy April 9, 2010 at 10:26 PM

O yum! Another delight for my Comfort Food page!


6 Velva April 9, 2010 at 10:30 PM

I could eat this stew any season. This stew is soul satisfying all year round.


7 Erica April 9, 2010 at 11:05 PM

Thank you everyone!


8 Chris April 10, 2010 at 12:08 AM

I’m going to do a steak with chimichurri in the next few days and as I was literally putting the flank steak into my cart, I thought of your blog. Any suggestions for appropriate side dishes?


9 Erica April 10, 2010 at 12:12 AM

Chris- Russian Salad is a great dish for steak with chimichurri.


10 Ivy April 10, 2010 at 1:24 AM

I am glad to hear that there are other people who eat stews year round, as we do in Greece. Never heard of canary beans before but it looks delicious.
Please come and collect an Award from my blog. Have a wonderful weekend.


11 Erica April 10, 2010 at 9:46 AM

Ivy- Thank you so much! I appreciate it :)


12 grace April 10, 2010 at 6:17 AM

this is a beautiful stew, erica! i don’t think i’ve actually had canary beans, but i like the name and the look of ‘em. :)


13 nora@ffr April 10, 2010 at 6:50 AM

yummm yummmm!! drooling already!! perfect spring dish!! :)
sure gonna give a try!!
cheers and have a lovely day!!


14 Carla April 10, 2010 at 7:52 AM

Me too! I could eat this all year round. It actually looks like it is on the light side, brothy. I’m bookmarking this one. Thanks.


15 Joanne April 10, 2010 at 9:31 AM

I honestly could eat stews all year round also. the hot weather just never really gets to me like that. This looks so hearty and delicious! Great recipe to use up the better half of a bag of cranberry beans.


16 norma April 10, 2010 at 9:50 AM

We also eat soup all year…this ine looks so good and healthy…


17 Erica April 10, 2010 at 9:50 AM

Thank you guys :) I love this stew !


18 Lyndsey April 10, 2010 at 3:47 PM

This looks so good Erica! The avocado and cilantro looks superb on top a nice touch of fresh!


19 Sook @ My Fabulous Recipes April 10, 2010 at 8:25 PM

Oh those meatballs look so good!!! Yum!


20 Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen April 10, 2010 at 8:31 PM

It looks really good! I love soups like this! The avocado on top really lightens the dish up!


21 Kim April 10, 2010 at 8:59 PM

I try not to let the weather dictate what I’m going to eat either. If I’m hungry for chili in the middle of the summer, then so be it! This looks delicious to me:D


22 Chef E April 11, 2010 at 12:17 AM

I love stew or soup of any kind, and this looks great! I also have a weakness for meatballs, and not sure if you saw it before, but I made these verde meatball spaghetti, that was soup, but yours has me wanting it now!


23 pierre April 11, 2010 at 2:31 AM

i did not know theses canary beas bu the meatballs Yes I love them !!
big hug from paris Pierre


24 Sophie April 11, 2010 at 7:58 AM

A very inviting, colourful & tasty stew!!



25 Angie April 11, 2010 at 10:07 AM

This stew looks great, I love coming to see your recipes, because it reminds me of my dear Columbian friend.


26 Erica April 11, 2010 at 10:55 AM

Thank you everyone….I love all your comments!


27 Cynthia April 11, 2010 at 4:08 PM

Erica, your food always makes me hungry!


28 Faith April 11, 2010 at 7:39 PM

I also enjoy eating soups all year long. This soup looks so delicious, I love the meatballs!


29 peanutts April 11, 2010 at 10:18 PM

wow, thats one comforting looking stew.


30 DebinHawaii April 12, 2010 at 1:50 AM

This looks amazing! I eat soups and stews all year round too! ;-) Loving the meatballs with the beans and potatoes.


31 tasteofbeirut April 12, 2010 at 8:51 PM


This really looks so good; I find your bean stew to be so easy to make! I have bought the Goya seasoning before and it usually ends up wasted so I am glad now I can use it in something yummy!


32 Oysterculture April 15, 2010 at 10:38 PM

I love the Columbian mentality – I’d be eating stew year round too, sounds so yummy – cannot wait to try.


33 Erica April 19, 2010 at 7:23 PM

Thank you guys :)


34 Anonymous April 27, 2010 at 10:49 AM

I made this soup and it was wonderful! What a delicious soup.


35 Justin M. July 6, 2010 at 5:09 PM

I also made this yesterday, it was delicious and your avocado and cilantro tip made it look good too! Thanks!


36 Mercy December 9, 2011 at 11:32 AM

We just received 100# from our Food Bank for distribution at our local pantry. Since we were not familiar with this bean I checked your blog. I now can package these up and print out instructions for the folks. Thank you so much!


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