Jamie Oliver’s Humble Home-Cooked Beans

29 Dec

I enjoy attempting to make new recipes but I can also admit that I am quite lazy. Often I will tag a recipe and then not get around to making it for a long time. Sometimes it is months, other times it could be up to a year. The Christmas Mint Cupcakes that I baked this week were a recipe that I had planned on making for about a year, as was this recipe by Jamie Oliver for Home-Cooked Beans. I am currently on a nice little break from work and I have found myself in the kitchen every day, trying new recipes, or re-creating old favourites, so it seemed like as good a time as any to finally get around to making some beans!

This recipe needs to be started in advance (as in overnight) as you will need to soak your dried beans in cool water for at least 12 hours. I admit that this was a big reason why it took me so long to commit to making this recipe (I don’t usually plan breakfast that far in advance!).

Once made, I served a large spoonful of glossy beans over a base of toasted barley bread for breakfast, but unfortunately, they were not well-received by B (my guinea-pig). He deemed them as bland and, whilst I agree, I wonder whether beans are really ever that exciting? Unless they are masked by a curry or a chilli, they always tend to be quite bland in my opinion. I didn’t think they were that bad, however, whilst the dish was very filling and quite healthy, I doubt that I would make this dish again as it was a lot of work for little result (taste-wise).

Jamie Oliver’s Humble Home-Cooked Beans – Serves 4

11 ounces dried cannellini beans, soaked in cold water for at least 12 hours
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
A few sprigs fresh thyme
A sprig fresh rosemary
3 bay leaves
1 stick celery, trimmed
1 small potato, peeled and halved
2 cherry tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil
Red wine vinegar
A few sprigs fresh at-leaf parsley, chopped
4 slices sourdough bread (or bread of your choice)

Method:
Drain the soaked beans, then give them a good wash. Place them in a deep pot and cover them with cold water.

Throw in the garlic, herb sprigs, bay leaves, celery stick, potato and tomatoes. Place the beans on the heat and slowly bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer very gently for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on whether you’re using fresh or dried, until soft and cooked nicely. Skim if necessary, topping up with boiling water from the kettle if you need to.

When the beans are cooked, drain them in a colander, reserving enough of the cooking water to cover them halfway up when put back in the pot. Remove the garlic, herbs, celery, potato, and tomatoes from the beans.

Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and pinch the skin off the tomatoes. Put the garlic, tomatoes and potato onto a plate, mash them with a fork and stir back into the beans. Season well with salt and pepper, and pour in 3 generous glugs of extra-virgin olive oil and a few splashes of vinegar. Stir in the parsley and serve on some toasted sourdough bread.

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