Dried beans generally make people nervous. They look like hard work and in our want-it-now lifestyle they seem like too much forward planning work. Plus you have to boil them for hours don’t you? Erm, well no! And they are a quick and easy way of making something special out of a couple of very simple recipes in this double whammy of a dish. I like to serve it hot one day as a side, almost like a bit of a stew. Then next day it makes a great base for a salad – I just add some finely chopped red onion and a tin of tuna for a completely different take on the dish. The perfect salad. So if you are getting at least two meals out of the dish perhaps it’s worth boiling those beans after all!
The beans I use are called Argentinian Beans, they are slightly bigger than a cannellini but smaller than a butter bean. They are sometimes known as ‘white beans’ which is an accurate description. I usually pick them up from the Mediterranean section of larger supermarkets or in Greek or Turkish supermarkets.
The only prep you need to do is to soak the beans the night before or pop them in cold water first thing. I would let them have pretty much 12 hours but more is fine too. They will really plump up and mean you have to cook them for less time. And don’t be fooled by how simple this dish is, I promise you it is so tasty.
Dried beans are also brilliant to have in your store cupboard as they can be added to soups, stews and salads and take up less space than the canned variety. They also work out very cost effective. The beans in this dish come to a purse friendly 75p and overall the dish can be made for around £1.90 for four portions of the stew. A little more when the tin of tuna and onion is added.
If you feel you need to bulk out the salad the next day you can serve the beans on a bed of green salad or mix in some shredded spinach.
It’s a Double Hitter – Bean Stew and Bean and Tuna Salad
- 200g Argentinian Beans
- 250g new potatoes, cut in half for small ones or quarters if they are a little larger
- 200g carrots, peeled and cut into chunks about the same size as the potatoes
- One stock cube
- handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- For the salad:
- One shallot finely chopped
- One tin or jar of tuna
- Step 1 Soak the beans overnight in cold water. Remove the water the next day and cover with more fresh cold water, so there is double the amount of water over the beans as there are beans (as if the depth was in thirds, one-third beans, two-thirds water) and crumble in the stock cube or bouillon. Bring to the boil and simmer for 25mins.
- Step 2 Add the cut up potatoes to the pot and simmer for another 5mins. Then add the carrots. During the cooking add splashes of water if the water level goes down further than the top of the mixture. You don’t want to add too much as the fluids should recede during the cooking process.
- Step 3 After around 10mins all the vegetables and the beans should be cooked through. There shouldn’t be too much fluid left, if there is spoon some off so you have just a few tablespoons left in with the veg and potatoes. Season to taste.
- Step 4 Add the parsley, lemon and olive oil and serve hot as a stew.
- Step 5 To serve as a salad allow to cool and add the finely chopped shallot and tuna. If you feel you would like to add more lemon and olive oil then do so before serving.