Posts tagged ‘butter beans’

September 4, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: A ‘kind of’ Caldo Verde

Sunday 14 August

Caldo Verde is the Portugeuse soup of potato, onion and kale. Recipes vary for it, sometimes meat is added to it, sometimes garlic, and probably loads of other things too. But the essential items are the greens of the leaves and the whites of the potatoes and onion.

We had a huge bunch of kale in the kitchen and Ella suggested doing something stew-like with it and a a Caldo Verde was kind of the way to go. Kind of. My issue with with straightforward Caldo Verde is that a loose soup of greens and potato can lack punch. Cabbage soup: low on the wow factor. So I like to toughen it up slightly. Garlic is a good addition, as is a hearty stock. But my main addition is beans (butter beans, haricot beans, borlotti beans – anything really, as long as they’re basically a white bean). The beans add substance and protein, as well as providing a different texture and just that little extra thing going on to make it less plain. And I think of it as a stew, not a soup. So…

In a large stockpot, fry a sliced onion in olive oil for five minutes, then add a clove of finely chopped garlic and cook for a further three minutes. Next, add some halved new potatoes, or quartered potatoes if they’re larger. Floury potatoes are good here as when they start to break up they’ll thicken the sauce. Then add some roughly chopped kale, any thick stalks removed, a tin of white beans of your choice and a level dessert spoon of paprika. Finally add some vegetable stock, which should come up about level with the top of all the veg. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. When the potatoes are soft you might want to crush a few of them in the pan and then stir – it’ll thicken the sauce a little. Serve with crusty bread and a final drizzle of olive oil.

Advertisements
April 22, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Butter beans, leeks and asparagus

Thursday 21 April

Last night’s concoction came about after staring long and hard at the contents of our weekly delivery from Abel & Cole and then leafing through some of our recipe books. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall suggests a white bean and leek salad, and this is an adaptation. A very simple spring supper.

To begin, soften the leeks in a large pan with some butter and olive oil. (I think we used to call this ‘frying’, but no one seems to advise ‘fry’ in recipes any more. You can soften, wilt or cook, but you can’t fry.) Then add two cans of butter beans. Season and cook for ten minutes until the beans take on a little colour. You can then boil, steam or grill a bunch of asparagus – which makes a warm salad bed for the beens and leeks. For a little tang we drizzled the salad with a mustard dressing made from Dijon mustard, olive oil and a little white wine vinegar. That should really have been cider vinegar but we didn’t have any.

A taste of spring.

April 7, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Butter beans with feta, herbs and sumac

Sunday 3 April

A Sunday supper supreme. This really has become a favourite of ours over the last year. It’s based on an old Ottolenghi recipe you can read here. I think there’s a version of it in his book Plenty, too. Basically, it’s butter beans fried in a little olive oil and/or butter, with spring onions (sliced length-ways and added to the beans for a couple of minutes towards the end of their cooking). The beans are then left to cool, a heap of chopped herbs are added (sorrel, dill, flat leaf parsley, basil?) Then crumble some feta in, sprinkle some sumac and add a chopped chilli if you like, We like. C’est ca.