Monday, 9 May 2011
Broad Beans - Bakla
One thing I like about living here is that the food you are buying is what is in season so therefore is healthy for you. There are strong arguments out there saying that eating in season is what we are supposed to be doing and is the best for our bodies. Keeping that in mind I really enjoy it when the new season starts and we can begin eating all our favorites we have missed out on during the rest of the year. For example when the peaches come out I try and buy as many as possible as the season is short lived and if I miss a week or two that only really gives me 3 weeks left to enjoy them. So everything is planned. Canning, preserving, drying the harvest really has much more meaning when living this way.
During this in between time of Winter and Spring comes the much maligned Broad Bean. Like I said in another post Lamb Shanks with Broad Beans. Broad beans and I never agreed. My lovely father always grew herbs and veggies when he could when we were little. When we lived in the ACT he grew broad beans. They would usually be served along side a chop all grey and tasteless. It wasnt until I was off by myself that I found a french recipe calling for broad beans but with a twist- you had to peel off the outer grey drab shell, well I did only to discover a vibrant, delicous, bright green bean inside. Also the other problem I had was where to buy them as it was usually a home grown oddity grown by the Greek or Italian migrants. So it has taken me this long in my life to be somewhere where it is a staple in Spring to enjoy this delicous bean.
This recipe calls for not only the bean but also the pod. Now I know they are furry . I never ate it until a friend of mine gave me a plate at her home and I discovered that I could eat it as all of the furryness had gone. The trick is to cut the pods into the smallest size you can. I would recommend shelling the beans and cutting the pods when your children are asleep and while you are watching your favourite soap.
1 kilo broad beans
3 tbsp sweet pepper paste/tomato paste
Take all the beans out of the large pods, if they are small leave them in the pod. Cut the pods into fairly small pieces. Dice the onions. In a large saucepan pour in the oil and fry the onions until clear. Add in the beans cook and stir for 5 minutes. Add in the pepper paste and stir through. Add in enough water to cover the beans. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on a med-high heat for 1 hour. Check and cook for a further 30 minutes if necessary. (I cook this in my pressure cooker for 1 hour)Broad bean shells are rather tough and I cook mine for a prolonged period and it is always lovely and soft.
If you want to add meat to this you can just add in 150gr or 200gr diced meat and fry it after cooking the onions then proceed with the rest.
This is a nice meal and I usually serve it with a rice pilav.