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Saturday, 8 October 2011

Fasolakia ladera (Braised runner beans)

Sheba modelling her new woolly jumper.
It's getting cold, but I don't want to give up on summer foods just yet. There's a great collection of recipes at Symi Visitor and their Fasolakia recipe was just the ticket for using up 1lb of runner beans and feeling a bit more cheerful about having to button little Sheba into her winter woollies for the first time this year.

For those of you who have an interest in such things, Sheba's jumper was made by a lady called Valerie Charman at Greyhounds4me.

This recipe is a ladera, which is just a generic Greek term for vegetables braised in olive oil. You can do any wintery vegetables like carrots, peas, spuds and beans in a ladera and any herbs such as parsley, mint, thyme or dill. Your constants are sauteed onion, tomato, garlic, good olive oil and a looooooooong slow cook. Fasolakia ladera is the perfect dish to remind you of Greek summers but it will also insulate you against a Belfast autumn evening.

Fasolakia Ladera (inspired by Symi Visitor)

1lb runner beans, topped, tailed and cut into 1" chunks.
1 tin flageolet beans, drained and rinsed
2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks.
3-4 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp dried thyme
2-3 finely chopped onions,
1 ½ cups olive oil
Salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and add the onions. Cook gently until soft, around 20 minutes. Add the runner beans and cook for 5 minutes. Finally add the flageolet beans, potatoes, tomato, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and a scant mug of water. Simmer over medium heat for 15 mins and then turn right down low until the beans are tender. I took the husband and the dog to the pub for two hours and that was perfect timing. It should all be velvety and unctuous, you are not looking for bite here. Traditionally served warm or at room temperature with feta cheese, bread and a squeeze of lemon to taste. I had mine with pork chops, wheaten bread and overripe brie and it was great.

PS I did this again without the flageolet beans and potatoes and it was extremely good with a cheesy mushroom, ham & tomato omelette!

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