Sunday, 29 March 2009

Beautiful Beans

Ripton gave this dish a round of applause! Everyone seems to love beans, the boys especially. No one's ever thrown a dish of beans back at me, that I know.

Lamb and Beans

Take two fat lamb shanks which have been marinaded for an hour in steak-and-chops and a bit of oil (this will feed three), and fry them up in a big cast iron casserole dish with a couple of onions. I always cut onions into wedges. Cook till the onions are really tender. Add some stock cubes and some boiling water and a good lot of cooked haricot beans. Normally I would cook them up myself, or take my chances with the frozen ones - until I discovered the organic tinned ones are really good. The butterbeans are also great. A few cloves of garlic - I never peel or chop garlic - just straight in. Pepper and - what made this dish - some leftover "wild mushroom organic soup" that had condensed overnight. It added a creamy and meaty gravy to the beans. It took about 2 hours to cook in the oven. I have since done this dish with shoulder shanks, which are half the price...and it was good. Also, a slow-cooked a brisket with butterbeans and mushrooms in exactly the same way....I just LOVE this method.

Steak-and-chops is a generic South African hot barbeque spice. It has revolutionised our eating..... I always bring two 5kg bags home from a spice shop in Durban. They make it up for you while you wait, shaking and adding from giant sacks till the colour looks right, then give you a pinch to taste. I bring the extra bag to share with friends, because once they taste it, they have to have some. Plus you will put it on everything...from sweet potatoes baking, to sausages, fish, lamb chops or mm mm, steak oh, and prawns! It's available here in specialist butchers or from the web. It's made by a South African company called Robertsons, but smaller spice companies make their own.

Not just a bean salad
If I could eat this salad every day, I would be happy. My secret is to buy a ready-prepared salad of mixed beans. Delphi make the best one. Nothing fancy just plenty tasty beans. And here is the rest of the ingredients ...not necessarily all at once. The important thing is balance. Other than the beans, the rest of the vegetables should be in roughly equal portions...too much cauliflower and it becomes a bit of a mission.

this is the definitely-going-in-every-time list:
chopped spring onions
third of a bag of chopped watercress
very large bunch of roughly chopped parsley
yellow pepper ( or red)
avocado (if at all possible)

and this is the whatever-else-you-have-around list:
oh it goes on

With everything chopped a similar size, squeeze in half a lemon and olive oil and then a giant spoon of organic hummous - very important. Organic hummous is the best hummous. Pepper. Salt and stir in gently. My fave dish.

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