"I remember as a child one of the 'foods to be avoided' was butter beans, not for any health reasons, in fact quite the opposite. They just didn't stack up to a bar of chocolate... How times change!"
In his role at the helm of the Craft Guild of Chefs, Martin comes across all manner of exotic and unusual ingredients, and is not afraid to experiment with them in the kitchen. Country Range Butter Beans are a great store cupboard ingredient, he says, and can be used to enhance a wealth of dishes.
Here are Martin's five ways to use butter beans:
- Use them in tasty 'Trencherman' soups served with warm crusty breads - Bean, Cabbage and Chorizo served with sun dried tomato bread is a particular favourite of mine (see below).
- Stews - you will find that the butter beans absorb the flavours and their texture will add a new dimension. Try them in a rich Navarin of lamb.
- Pureed - as a vegetable or garnish. Cook them in a vegetable stock then remove the outer layer and puree with a little of the stock and crème fraiche. The resulting puree looks great as a swirl on a dark plate.
- As a dip - use the butter beans as a replacement for chickpeas in a hummus-style dip. You will also find they go very well when pureed with black olives and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
- Finally - and only if you still have that "hang-up" from your childhood, they make a great baking aid when blind baking a flan!
Bean, Cabbage & Chorizo Soup
>> (leave out the chorizo for a vegetarian version)
- 250g Country Range butter beans
- 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 50ml Country Range olive or rapeseed oil
- 150g chorizo (large dice)
- 350g shredded white cabbage or 250g shredded Savoy cabbage
- 1.5litres good vegetable stock
- Heat the oil in a large pan, sweat the onions in the oil then add the chorizo and garlic and fry until the spicy oil starts released from the chorizo.
- Add the cabbage and beans, stir well to cover them in the spicy oil then add the vegetable stock cover and bring to the boil.
- Lower the heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes taste and adjust the seasoning.