07 Nov Borlotti stew, vegetable mash, cavolo nero pesto
Welcome to the first recipe post here at Tofu and Tempeh. Like the 22nd of November 1963 or the 9th of November 1989, I think it’s unlikely you’ll forget where you were on this historic day! How curious, it seems all the major events of the world fall in November!
Anyway, enough nonsense, let’s talk borlotti shall we. If there is a more beautiful bean in the world, then I haven’t seen it and let me tell you, my pulse consumption is off the charts. They can be hard to come by fresh so when I received my Abel and Cole vegetable box delivery, complete with a bag of of these beautiful borlottis, I got to thinking how best to utilise their nutty, delicious beanery. Images of Italian stereotypes; you know, rustic stews, crusty bread, red wine, rolling hills filled my mind, a borlotti bean stew it was going to be. Shame I don’t drink nor did we have any fancy italian bread in. And I certainly don’t live in beautiful Italian countryside, but hey, I had the beans and that was good enough for now.
Mash and stew can start to sound eerily like school dinners on a friday, but mash, as I hope this recipe will demonstrate can be a healthy, flavourful and interesting accompaniment.
The real revelation here though is the pesto. A dollop of the stuff lifts the whole dish. It’s real good stuff, I mean eat with the spoon real good.
Anyway, let’s get on with the recipe.
We start with the stew.
Borlotti bean stew
De-pod a bag of fresh borlotti beans. Soak dried beans if you can’t get hold of the fresh stuff
Mirepoix of vegetables (Onions, celery, leeks, carrots). What do you mean stop showing of with your fancy cheffing terminology!
2 cloves of Garlic. I both crush and slice the garlic to mix it up a bit (I know, such a maverick)
A bouquet garni of fresh herbs; I used Sage and rosemary. You want to tie these up good and proper so you can easily fish them out upon serving.
- In a casserole style dish, heat a tablespoon or two of oil (I like to use cold-pressed rapeseed). Add your mirepoix, along with your garlic and sweat until softened. A pinch of salt goes in (pink Himalayan is my choice) whenever I’m sweating onions.
- Now in with your beans and further seasoning. A glass of red wine in, along with your bouquet garni. Let the wine reduce, before covering the mix with good vegetable stock. Add a touch of vinegar, I think always a good idea when beans are around and some smoked paprika if you fancy it. In a last minute bolt of inspiration, I decided to add a couple of tomatoes, sliced in half. You may want to blanch and de-skin them. Now don’t try this at home, but in my neglectful laziness, I chose to de-skin the tomatoes whilst cooking in the stew, rather than blanch and de-skin the proper way beforehand. Yep, not wise, but you do get a mid-cooking snack for your troubles (and burns). Mmm, tomato skin..
- Let simmer and cover for a good 30 minutes. Add in your sliced mushrooms (and other vegetables that take your fancy). You want the liquid to reduce by around 3/4, so take the lid of and let that water evaporate away. Un-boquet garni your stew and you’re ready to go. But h’wait, whilst all this is going on, you better get your mash on.
Root vegetable mash
A mix of root vegetables (I used a turnip, a couple of potatoes and some carrots, but let your imagination run amok)
1-2 garlic clove/cloves, skinned
- So you want to keep all of your individual vegetables the same size, but also make sure all of the vegetables cook at the same time. So I went a bit chunkier with my potatoes, finer with my turnips and somewhere in between with my carrots.
- Cover with cold water and get them veg boiling, oh and plop in your garlic whilst you’re there. After around twenty minutes keep testing the mashing potential of your veg by pressing the cubes against the side of the pan. Once you feel they are ready for mashing, drain and well, mash away.
- From here you can add a little olive oil and plenty of seasoning, mash as desired, I like a little texture in my mash, but go as long as your biceps can take if your preference is silky smooth. Now only the glorious pesto to go.
Cavolo Nero Pesto
A few big leaves of Cavolo Nero shredded. Of course, use any green leaf you have to hand, regular kale, spinach, the opportunities are endless. Well not quite endless, but I thought that sounded better than the opportunities are limited by the number of green leaf variants.
A few sprigs of parsley
A drizzle of Olive oil
A good handful of toasted pine nuts and walnuts. Though measure your handful pre-toasting for health and safety! Again, feel free to mix around your nuts for personal preferences… I like to mix my nuts up..
And yet more garlic. One clove, crushed.
- Get your food processor out, add ingredients, blend till pesto is born.
- Taste, season and add more oil and lemon where needed. That is all.
All that’s left to do is plate. A generous helping of your healthy mash will sit alongside your stew, which will all be topped with the zing of your pesto. Now that’s a dinner (or a lunch, whatever you fancy)! I like to serve this with a couple of veggie sausages, but hey, we’re a democracy here at Tofu&Tempeh, I won’t be forcing veggie sausages on anyone. Any connotations that sentence may have conjured up comes entirely from you and I won’t be blamed for your dirty minds! I wrote that solely with good and truthful intentions.
So enjoy that one, hope it goes down a treat.
Thanks for reading. I would love to hear what you think of it if you get the chance to make it, or other ideas to mix it up a little.
Thanks again, please like, share and other such things that I hope I don’t annoy you too much by asking.
Till the next time, Alex.