3 Bean Stew
But before that, does anyone else watch Jamie Oliver?
He is currently on TV doing a series of 30 minute meals, that normally include a main, a salad or side dish and a pudding. If I could just mute the voice over I think I would quite enjoy this series, but it is on at that sitting down in the evening with a glass of wine time, and has no other competition so inevitably it prattles on in the background.
I have yet to be inspired by any of the food on offer apart from the salmon the other night - but as I cannot convince anyone else to eat salmon that is one recipe that will have to fall by the wayside.
But the point of this little entry was not to run down Jamie Oliver and his pre-pubescent presenting style, but to wonder where on earth his prop buyer has got to.
For me, one of the greatest pleasures in cookery programmes is looking at all the little bits and pieces of crockery, cutlery and gadgets, and coveting them.
The derisory 'Delicious Miss Dahl' was one such programme, who cared what she said or what she cooked (with the cooked in inverted finger commas) when she had so many pretty things surrounding her. Nigella is a disappointment in this sense, but her cooking does make up for it, won't even mention Heston or Nigel Slater, Delia occasionally had a bit of eye candy, but the king of pretty props used to be Jamie.
And now - nothing.
I have watched several of the new shows and have not felt the urge to cruise ebay for anything afterwards. Bring back the props buyer!
Weeeeell - back on track now.
This 3 bean stew thingy is one of my favourite tapas nibbles, but it also makes a fantastic side dish - this evening it will be accompanying some roasted duck legs.
The long version involves dried beans, for the Jamie style 30 minute version use tinned or frozen beans.
2 large yellow onions
4 rashers of streaky bacon chopped into chunks or some lardons
1 litre of chicken stock
1 cupful each of any beans of your choice - chickpeans, flagelot, haricot, butter, kidney, borlotti etc
fresh or dried thyme
Use a large oven proof pot with a lid.
Fry 2 large onions that have been roughly chopped in a tablespoon of olive oil with some black pepper. This is not enough oil to thoroughly cook the onions you just want to give them a bit of colour.
When the pan looks too dry, add a splash of water and put a lid on to sweat the onions until they are soft.
In another frying pan, fry off the bacon, then add the bacon and any liquid from the pan into the onions.
Add the beans, season, bring to the boil then leave on a high simmer for 20 minutes, add some fresh thyme, stir thoroughly and serve.
If using dried beans, soak overnight, then as above, but when you add the beans to the stock put the pan in the oven for about 3 or 4 hours to cook slowly and absorb the stock.
I normally use a mixture of dried and frozen beans. A cup of chick peas, to a cup of frozen borlotti (I usually have some that have not dried enough naturally for storage so I just throw them in the freezer), and a cup of haricot beans. When using frozen beans - do not let them defrost first - they go all mushy and lose a lot of their texture in the cooking if you do.
I think I need a prop buyer too.
This Le Creuset enamel pan came from a car boot sale here in France about 3 years ago, and has been very badly treated by me since then. I only paid a couple of euros for it, which is a good job really because once it hit the stone floor a couple of times most of the orange enamel fell off, and it has a couple of dents now too. It is just the right size for 3 people though, and is so handy from hob to oven on the Rayburn but equally on the gas stove that I cannot bring myself to replace it, not until I spot another one at a bargain price anyway.
As I sit at my kitchen table writing this, with my stew bubbling away behind me, I realise that quite a few of my kitchen buys have been inspired by the pretty props on TV cookery shows, so in order to save pennies I need to either stop watching the shows or start being grateful that the quality of prop buyer has dropped dramatically.