• 12ozs (340g/2 cups) approx. dried haricot, kidney or blackeyed beans or
a mixture of all three
• 1-3 carrots
• 1-3 onions
• 1-3 bouquet garni
• Salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar
• 2 tablespoons
• 8ozs (225g/4 cups) sliced onions
• 1 large red pepper, cored, seeded and sliced
• 1 large green pepper, cored, seeded and sliced
• 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
• 1 tin of tomatoes, 14ozs (400g) or 1 lb (450g) peeled, very ripe tomatoes,
• 2 tablespoons (scant ¼ cup) concentrated tomato puree
• 1 teaspoon chopped marjoram, thyme or basil
• 1 bouquet garni
• 2ozs (55g) black olives
• 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
This is a delicious rustic bean stew, cheap to make yet wonderfully filling and nutritious, and a particularly good dish for vegetarians. Do not add the salt to the beans until near the end of the cooking time, otherwise they seem to harden.
The day before cooking, pick over the beans, cover with plenty of cold water and leave overnight (soak each type of bean separately). Next day, drain the beans, place in a saucepan or saucepans and cover with fresh cold water. Add a chunk of carrot, a small onion and a bouquet garni to each pot. Bring to the boil, boil rapidly for 10 minutes, then cover and simmer until almost tender. The cooking time varies according to the variety and age of the beans, so for this reason it is better to cook the beans in separate pots and mix them later. Add a pinch of salt towards the end of cooking.
When the beans are tender but not mushy, strain and reserve 10 flozs (300ml/1¼ cups) of the liquid and discard the vegetables and bouquet garni. Heat the oil in a casserole and sweat the onions on a low heat for 5 minutes approx. Add the peppers and garlic, cover and continue to sweat gently for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, tomato puree, herbs, beans, bouquet garni, reserved cooking liquid, salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of sugar. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes approx., or until the beans and peppers are cooked. Five minutes before the end of cooking time, add the olives and freshly chopped parsley. Remove the bouquet garni, taste and correct the seasoning.
Note: 1 lb (450g) streaky bacon, blanched and de-rinded, cut into ½ inch (1 cm) cubes may be added to this stew. Brown the cubes in olive oil before adding the peppers. If this bean stew is being eaten without meat, then rice should be eaten in the same meal in order to get maximum food value from the beans.