Recipe of the week: Braised flat beans in slow cooked tomato sauce
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A fresh take on a classic.
“I’ve seen variations of this dish all over the place, here in the UK, but also in Turkey, France and Italy, which to me is an exciting situation as no-one has ownership over the recipe, and its ubiquitousness and longevity is a sure-fire sign that beans and tomatoes are a tried-and-tested combination,” says chef Gizzi Erskine.
“Traditionally, the beans are meant to be served a little more cooked than you might be used to seeing these days, and are as a result not as vibrant, but have the confidence to let them to lose some of their colour in order to achieve the right texture.
“Here, they are cooked for less than the standard 30 minutes, and are instead allowed to cook a little further in the residual heat of the pan once it’s removed from the hob, to maintain some freshness and bite."
(Serves four as a side dish)
3tbsp confit garlic oil or regular oil, ½ dried chilli, pinch of dried chilli flakes, 1 sprig of rosemary, marjoram or oregano, 400g slow cooked tomato sauce (see below), 500g flat beans (stalk ends cut off), ½tsp sea salt flakes
2-3tbsp Greek yoghurt, ½tsp pul biber, chopped parsley, dill and mint leaves
For the Slow Cooked Tomato Sauce (makes six portions):
3tbsp olive oil, 1 head of garlic (cloves peeled and finely chopped), 2kg tomatoes, 2tbsp sherry vinegar, red wine or white wine vinegar, large bunch of basil leaves, salt and pepper
1. Heat the olive oil in a casserole dish over a medium heat, add the garlic and fry for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, blitz the tomatoes into a puree. Add the tomatoes to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, add the vinegar and cook for about 90 minutes to reduce. Tear and add the basil.
2. Heat the confit garlic oil or regular oil in a wide saucepan over a high heat, and add the dried chilli, dried chilli flakes and rosemary, marjoram or oregano. Allow to infuse the oil for a minute, then pour in the tomato sauce and lay the beans flat in the pan. Add the salt and a splash of water and cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Check for seasoning, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
3. When ready to serve, spoon over the yoghurt, sprinkle over the pul biber and scatter the chopped herbs on top.
Restore: A Modern Guide to Sustainable Eating by Gizzi Erskine, photography by Issy Croker, is published by HQ, priced £25. Available November 26.