Posts Tagged With: butter bean

Ciambotta – Italian Butter Bean Stew with lots of Greens

From the top of Knicht - Snowdonia, Wales

From the top of Knicht – Snowdonia, Wales

We are just back in Wales, the home of the Beach House and arrived to a clear night and a million star welcome! Today has been fantastic, getting settled in again and unpacking the wine bought in France and Spain. We may need to build an extension to fit it all in!

After all the fussing about and sorting we decided to head to the hills, Knicht to be exact, a Himalayan looking mountain near Porthmadog. It is an impressive rocky peak and we knew we had a good day of scrambling and sharp climbs ahead. It turned out to be an awesome walk, with views of the Snowdon range and the Irish Sea. Knicht is surrounded by many small mountain lakes and we’ve made plans to return and camp up there soon. Jane and I are so lucky to live in such beautiful places. We are loving being back in Wales and of course a major part of that is the Beach House Kitchen.

We are getting re-acquainted with all of our cool kitchen stuff; spatulas, knives graters and Buster our semi-wild cat (who lives in the wood store).  We’ve been cooking up a storm with oat breads, hummus, fruit salads and lashing of proper cups of tea. Amongst this frenzy came the idea for his stew.

We fancied a change of taste, we do eat alot of spiced food and have talked of visiting Italy for an age.  We have also been eating far too much amazing cheese in France and quaffing the odd glass of vino, all in all, we feel a little jaded after two weeks or more on the road and this Ciambotta recipe heralds a step back to the food we really love; healthy, fresh, local and hearty.

This Ciambotta, I would imagine, is very un-Italian to most Italians.  But it looks very Italian in Wales I can assure you! We’re a long way from Milan! The colours and citrus of the dish, not to mention the vegan parmesan and hint of tarragon, make for an interesting take on the traditional Ciambotta; a dish normally cooked by Italian Mum’s to use up spare vegetables. There is nothing spare about these vegetable though, they are all in peak condition, as they should be. Jane has been searching high and low for good produce, it’s that time of year when all that seems good are the Jerusalem Artichokes (nothing wrong with that then!)

To make this recipe more Italian, substitute the parsnip and carrot for aubergine and courgette.  But we’re back in the B.H.K and the local veg is brilliant. We’ve also missed our friend the parsnip, they are as rare as vegans is Spain!

We used Winter Greens here, they are like cabbage leaves. Kale, Savoy Cabbage and the like would also be grand. Even Spinach would be cool, anything dark green and leafy. The Greens work well because when rolled up and chopped thin, they actually resemble something like pasta (gluten-free wa-hay!)

Bon Appetito!

 

The Bits – For 4 hungry folk

3 cups cooked butter beans

2 tbs olive oil

1 large onion (finely sliced)

1 stick celery (finely sliced)

2 large carrots (small cubes)

1 large parsnips (small cubes)

4 cloves garlic (finely sliced)

2 big handfuls of greens (whole leaves finely sliced)

1 big handful of cherry tomatoes

1 lemon (juice and zest)

3 bay leaves

2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoons dried basil

2 cups butter bean stock (cooking juice)

2 tbs vegan parmesan cheese (buy online and in selected shops)

Do It

Cook off your beans for 1 hour (bring to a boil then simmer with a lid). They should be nice and tender. Set aside, this can be done well in advance, you can store them in the fridge for a couple of days.

On a medium heat, warm 1 tbs of oil in a heavy based frying pan and begin to sweat off your onions (5 mins), when soft add your bay leaves, carrots, celery, parsnip and garlic, stir well and cook for 3 mins, then add your dried herbs and tomatoes, stir well and cook for 5 mins and then add your beans and bean juice. Turn the heat up and cook for 5 – 10 mins get it all nice and warm, the veggies should be getting soft and the bean juice reducing a little.

At this stage, pop your lemon zest and juice, parmesan cheese, greens and a glug of great olive oil into the mix, stir in and then pop a lid on and warm on lowest heat for 5 minutes.  If you need a little more sauce, just pop some bean stock in and heat through.

Serve

We topped ours with some fresh parsley and basil leaves and nothing else!  A little more parmesan on top, but that would be lovely.  It’s quite a hearty stew, but of course being Italian-ish, a good lump of bread may be in order.

In the Beach House we love stirring yogurt into stews to add some creaminess.

We Love It!

The lemon does it here and the pungent parmesan. We love this take on the Italian classic Ciambotta and are glad to be back in the land of the splendid parsnip. This stew is laden with glorious veggies, just the way we like ‘em.

 

 

Tunes

As always, we try and keep you abreast of Beach House tunes, now we’re back on the island (Britain) we are re-integrating with some cool youngsters Alt-J, nice beats and melodies off the ‘Awesome Wave’, here we are ‘Dissolve Me’.  Wicked!:

Categories: Dinner, Recipes, Stew, Wales | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Vegetarian Shepherds Pie

Joyce and Keith and some dodgy looking waiter.

This was a staple in my family when I was a young ‘un, the mince and spud variety anyway. I was inspired by many a food blogger to have a play with this classic dish, I have forgotten where exactly, but I hope you know who you are!

I can eat alot of mash, it’s so more-ish, so I have included sweet potato to mix with the normal spuds.  This makes for a slightly healthier mash and has vibrant colours with the rich, smooth texture of the sweet orange ones.

I’ve named this a shepherds pie, but it only resembles it in the technique of cooking.  The colours and flavours are more vibrant in the veggie variety (I think!).

The occasion was a gardening visit by Jane’s Mum and Dad, Joyce and Keith.  We had a full day of house sorting, managing to fix the fire and the strimmer and much more.  We needed some rich and hearty grub and this hit the spot.  I know that Jane’s Mum and Dad have slightly sweeter tooth, which meant the sweet pots and sweetcorn in this recipe were ideal.  I would normally tone down the cheese, it is great without dairy, but I find a good lump of cheese sates those who normally have meat as a rule.

I would always used fresh tomatoes if available, but a good tin of organic toms will suit this dish fine.  They are normally sweeter and give a nice red colour to the sauce.  Just replace the toms here with one tin.

Most of these ingredients came from our local farm shop Hooton’s Homegrown.  Until our garden starts producing some vegetables, we are lucky to have them so close.  There carrots are amazing and really made this dish.

Save all stock here and cooking juice for soup making and the stew, you can mix them together to make a great base stock for later.  Vegans, you know the drill, replace the butter and cheese with something like olive oil etc, maybe some tofu cream would be nice as a topping.

The Bits

2 sweet potatoes, 3 white potatoes (scrubbed and cut into chunks, gauge quantity of pots by the number of mouths to feed), 2 cups of dried butter beans, 3 cloves garlic (chopped), zest of 1 lemon (finely chopped), 1 teas paprika, 1 big onion (chopped), 4 fat carrots (scrubbed and roughly chopped), 150g (several large handfuls) spinach, 1 can sweetcorn (fresh if you can), several good knobs of butter, glug of cooking oil (you choose which), 3 handfuls of cherry tomatoes and 250g tomato passata (one good tin toms is acceptable), 4 teaspoons of fresh thyme (or dried mixed herb), 3 nice knobs of butter,  3 decent handfuls of mature cheddar cheese, 2 cups of good veg stock, 2 bay leaves.

The sauce in motion.

Do It

Soak butter beans overnight, covered with 1 inch of water.  Bring to boil, skim of the white scum and simmer gently with lid on for 45 minutes, or until tender to the bite.  Drain and set aside (keeping cooking water).

Get your chopped potatoes in a pan with some cold, slightly salted water and bring to the boil.  Lower heat to a gentle boil and cook for 20 mins, or until tender.  Drain (saving stock) and put back into warm pan, season and mix in a handful of the cheddar cheese and a knob of butter.  Mash it up in the pan (saves on washing up) until creamy and smooth.  Set aside.

Whilst all that is going on, you probably have time to start the stew base of the pie.  Fry off the onions until soft on medium heat with a knob of butter and a glug of oil, then add the garlic and carrots,  thyme/mixed herbs and bay leaves, stir well and cook for 5 minutes.  Add paprika, lemon zest, corn and beans, stir in for a few minutes, then add the toms and passata, bring to the boil and add the stock.  Stir in and leave on a steady simmer for 30 mins, until cooked down and approaching stickiness.  I like to stir in a tablespoon of the mash to make the sauce nice and thick.  Don’t overcook the carrots, remember they’ll be cooked further in the oven.

Pre-heat an oven to 200oC.

In a large baking dish, pour out your sauce into the base, sprinkle over a good thick covering of spinach leaves to form a thick layer (remember it’s a serious wilter) then scoop the mash into the centre and using a spatula or big spoon, gently smooth out to the corners, making sure that it meets all edges.  Sprinkle on top as much cheddar as you deem necessary and a dusting of mixed herbs/ thyme.

Place on a tray and into the oven on a middle shelf.  Cook until a gentle bubbling appears at the edges and cheese is golden brown, should take around 20-30 minutes.

Our Veggie Shepherd’s Pie (Fortunately, our cooking is better than our photography!)

Serve

Place in the middle of your table and spoon out carefully onto plates (unlike we did!  See photo).  Great served with a crunchy salad, we made a simple salad of sprouting mung beans (we just has a bumper crop, see more of our sprouting antics here) with a lemon vinegar dressing.

Our sprouts

We Love It!

This is a real cheesy filler.  We love the contrast of vibrant colours, the layers of red sauce, green spinach and orange mash.

Foodie Fact

Sprouts are the freshest vegetable available, we eat them as they are sprouting!           Find our more on this great healthy eating website.

Categories: Organic, Recipes, Welsh produce | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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