We are both big fans of Delia Smith’s White Bean and Tuna Fish Salad which we have made throughout many summers over the years, adapting it slightly here and there dependant on what we have to hand, but always trying to keep it simple. It often tempting with salads to throw in a bit of everything, but this is one that benefits from a select number of ingredients.
I wondered whether I could adapt this recipe using my dried homegrown borlotti beans rather than the butter beans we normally use, and I’m pleased to say it worked really well. The lemon (or lime) dressing is a must.
If using dried beans, soak half a bowl of them overnight in water (top the bowl up with cold water to just below the rim). When fully rehydrated, drain and put them in a saucepan with fresh water and bring to a fast boil for 10 mins, then turn down the heat to a simmer and carry on cooking for about an hour, or until the beans are soft. You could also use 1 can of borlotti beans.
Drain and add to a bowl with 1 can of drained tuna fish, 1 sliced avocado, half a red onion – sliced, a handful of sliced black olives and a few cubes of feta cheese.
For the dressing, squeeze the juice from half a lemon or lime, add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, a grind of black pepper and a pinch of salt, whisk together until creamy and pour over the salad. Turn the salad ingredients over in the dressing to coat and serve with crusty bread.
A good hearty casserole for a wintry Sunday night in January. What could be better? I used leeks and parsnips fresh from the plot, along with some borlotti beans that were grown and dried at the end of last summer. You can also use a can of fresh beans if you don’t have these.
This would be a perfect dish for a slow cooker if you have one. I wasn’t organised to get it going early enough, but I still cooked it fairly long and slow in a cast iron casserole dish in a moderate oven.
Please don’t worry too much about the quantities in this, I have given what I used for guidance only, use your judgement and whatever you have to hand.
- about 3 handfuls of dried borlotti beans (soaked overnight, or min 8 hours)
- 460g cubed pork
- a little oil for browning the meat
- salt and pepper to season
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 1 heaped tsp mustard powder
- 50ml cider or cider vinegar
- 1 leek, sliced
- 1 small onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into chunks
- 400ml veg stock (chicken is fine too)
- 50g chorizo (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 150ºC (less for a fan oven).
- If your beans were soaked from dry, drain them, put them in a pan of fresh water and bring to the boil. Once they’re boiling vigorously, give them a good 10 mins.
- Put the pork in a shallow dish, large bowl or even a food bag, and cover with the flour, mustard and some seasoning. Toss to coat thoroughly.
- Fry the pork in oil to seal the meat and brown a little at the edges. Put into the casserole dish.
- Pour the cider or vinegar (or you could use white wine) into the pan and scrape up all of the bits that have stuck to the bottom. This might take a bit of time, depending on how non-stick your pan is – mine really isn’t so took some serious scraping. Pour this over the pork.
- Add a bit more oil to the pan and gently sauté the onions, garlic and leeks, then add these and the parsnips to the casserole dish, along with the chorizo if using.
- Once the beans have done their 10 mins of boiling, drain them and rinse, then add to the dish.
- Pour the stock in, cover with a lid and put into the oven for about 2 hours.
- Serve in a bowl with crusty bread to dunk in.
Credit: my own recipe, but inspiration came from Nigel Slaters recipe for Pork, leeks and green peppercorns, Tender, Vol I. I substituted the mushrooms for beans, and left out the herbs, peppercorns and the cream. I did debate wether to add a swirl of cream at the end, but I’m just trying to be healthy.
This is how the borlotti beans look after their soaking, but before cooking. Sadly they loose their beautiful mottling once cooked. But they take on a tanned hue and become so nutty and sweet. They are the king of beans.