It's made from kidney beans cooked with a chunk of locally-raised ham, with carrots and sauteed onions and peppers added toward the end of cooking. Pastured smoked ham is very different from the stuff you'd get at a supermarket; it's earthier, somewhat metallic, and less sweet and salty.
I deviated from the recipe quite a lot. The original was a Jamaican recipe in which the red beans are cooked down to a homogenous goop and served with white-flour dumplings. I wanted something more whole. I simmered the beans just until they were done and made the dumplings with freshly ground whole wheat flour. Unlike the blueberry-peach grunt, in which the whole wheat dumplings were soft and fluffy, these unleavened dumplings were dull and heavy. They have a very hearty (bagel-like) feel to them and definitely tasted better the second day, after the bran had some time to soften in the broth. If I made this stew again and decided to put dumplings in it, I'd sneak some baking powder into the batter.
All in all, the stew was yummy and nutritious, but I can't honestly say that it was anything close to what the authors intended.