Monday, 30 April 2012

Beans, Greens and Butter

After the deluge...

These weeks of deluge bring green to the roadsides, woodlands and the veg patch.  My hands full of the green stuff, I this weekend nourished stomach and soul with garden pulses and as much of the chlorophyll as I could gather.  Here a very buttery Green Bean Stew.  

Soak a mugful of beans for 24 hours, or at least overnight.  Here I used Runner Beans collected from the pods last Autumn.  Change the water and cook the beans in water with a few Bay Leaves and Fennel Seeds (to counteract flatulent effects) and no salt - salt can make the skins tough.  Simmer on the hob or in the oven until the beans are soft, not quite falling apart.   Remove and use the same pan to cook the Veg.  I choose to cook them separately as I want the Green to be almost raw and rife with goodness.  The recipe may appear very convoluted.  It is really simply a steaming process, cooking the stuff at the base most and on the top the least.  The idea is to use whatever Greens, wild or cultivated you have to hand.  Here I have used fresh green Herbs, Land Cress, baby Alliums and a Cabbage.

I cooked the remainder in layers in the pan, only stirring the Onion.  Soften one large Onion in Butter.  Add very thinly sliced Cabbage, another knob of Butter and a water to cover the base of the pan.  Put on the lid and allow the Cabbage to steam slightly.  Add baby Leeks, Spring Onions and Wet Garlic, all finely chopped, Greens and all.  Add Lovage stalks and leaves.  Add more Butter and Savoury.  Continue to steam slowly.   

Then add the Beans and fill the pan with water until just visible at the height of the Beans.  Now, add some of the chopped Parsley, Chard, Land Cress, Sweet Cicely...  Steam a minute or so more.  Top with the remainder of the Greens, a knob of Butter.  Season and serve immediately with fresh Bread and Butter.