No matter what you think you know, there is always more to learn! This happened to me when a Greek friend responded to a photo of my Baby Broad Beans and said, I have a lovely recipe you can make with those…
The recipe that followed was more a list of ingredients – a list I might add that seemed incredibly short and looking temptingly easy to make. Further to my #GIY adventures this year, everything I plant has not only sprouted, but taken on an almost Triffid-like quality leaving me petrified for the forthcoming Pea and Bean Armageddon I see looming in my near future!
For that reason, my friend, Nana Karaoulani’s suggestion that I make a traditional Greek dish, heretofore unheard of by me, as a way of making a genius inroad in my Broad Bean Crop, was well-timed and brilliant!
I do seem to be on a bit of Greek flow at the moment with my food and flavours! It must be the time of year. It’s also one of my favourite cuisines, and there is a strong familial link with this cuisine too. I didn’t hesitate in heading out to my garden and picking off a colander of smaller pods and getting to work in the kitchen.
There is one tiny time consuming activity associated with this dish (aside from growing your own veg, of course!), and that is de-stringing the beans! Usually, when I eat Broad Beans, the labour comes from double-podding: taking the beans out of their furry jackets and removing the outer skin to reveal the tender, bright green flesh within. Now, if you had my childhood, every Broad Bean ever put in front of me was subjected to single podding only. My mother, obsessed with dietary fibre, made us eat the rubber outer skin. She is right of course, but when one becomes an adult, we can do things our way, and I say Double-Podding is worth every moment.
Anyway, with baby Broad Beans (or Fava Beans as you might know them to be), what is required is to top and tail and run a pairing knife down the side seam of each bean to remove the string, keeping the pod intact. Put each bean into a bowl of lemon water to prevent oxidisation and turning the pods black where you cut them. We cook the whole thing, double-pods and all, and let me tell you: this dish is delicious! Thank you Nana for the top tip!
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 500 g baby broad beans
- 400 g tin chopped tomato
- 300 ml water
- 3 potatoes, scrubbed/peeled and cut into apx 3 cm pieces
- Salt and Pepper
- Handful of Feta cheese, crumbled
- Heat a saute pan over a low heat, add oil and onions. Cook the onions until softened and brown. Add the baby broad beans and potatoes, tin of tomatoes and top with the water so that all has been covered.
- Cook until all is tender and most of the liquid has cooked off. You are looking for a thick sauce-like texture. Season with salt and pepper.
- Tip out into a serving bowl and top with crumbled feta.
I served this dish with a joint of slow cooked lamb and a side of braised fennel topped with crispy, garlicky breadcrumbs. Delicious, and so simple – a feast for the whole family!