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Simple Borlotti Beans Recipe

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Published on Aug 1, 2012

A stunningly simple recipe for a wholesome and inexpensive dish using dried beans, herbs and spices. Although I tend to include some bacon and sausage, it may be served without meats.

Serves 6

Ingredients:
500g borlotti (or other medium-sized
beans, such as kidney or cannelini)
1 medium onion, whole
3 or 4 cloves
2 bay leaves, dried
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 or 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
100g smoked bacon
cut into strips (if using)
1 tsp cummin, ground
1 tsp coriander, ground
1 tbsp paprika (preferably Hungarian)
2 or 3 tbsp diced capsicum flesh
(any colour)
800g canned tomatoes (juice included)
2 tsp tomato paste
2 tsp sugar
6 large pork sausages (if using)
Optional extras
200ml sour cream
100g tasty cheese, grated
Chopped spring onions

Method:
The day before preparing the dish, soak beans in plenty of water.
Next day, drain beans, rinse, and drain again.
Peel onion and stud with the cloves.
In a large saucepan, put plenty of water, a tablespoon of the olive oil, the clove-studded onion, bay leaves and a little salt and pepper.
Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and allow to cook very gently for about 1 1/2 hours.
(Adding a little cold water from time to time helps prevent the beans from splitting).
Drain, discarding onion and bay leaves but reserving about 250ml of cooking water.
In a large heavy saucepan or flame-proof casserole dish, put the remaining olive oil and over medium heat, fry the onion, garlic and bacon (if using) for 2 or 3 minutes, until the onion begins to soften.
Add cummin, coriander and paprika, and cook a further 2 or 3 minutes.
Add crushed canned tomatoes (a potato masher is perfect for this job). Add pulp tomatoes and juice, to the onion/spice mixture, stirring well.
Then add a teaspoon of sugar and two teaspoons of tomato paste.
Bring to the boil and allow to reduce for 5 minutes.
Add beans and pork sausage (if using).
Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes or so.

Degree of difficulty: Low.
Keepability: Keeps a couple of days in the refrigerator and may be re-heated
or served cold as a bean salad.
Wine companion: Pinot Noir.

Serve... on its own or topped with sour cream,
grated cheese and chopped spring onion.

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