Well I’m pretty sure that broad beans don’t have this unfortunately bean-related side effect, which is lucky as we’ve been eating them in pretty much every meal for the last week or so. This was my first foray into growing from seed and it has certainly inspired my to this style of gardening. I loved the simplicity of growing broad beans from seed, bung them in the ground, water them in and then ignore them until they start coming through – definitely my kind of seed. I planted them much closer than recommended (I tend to do this a lot), but they have been so successful. Tall, swaying stalks (though I do get very concerned about them in the wind) of silvery green, their subtle black and white flowers and then an abundance of pods, once I found one and saw them everywhere. I must have picked several kilos of pods already – granted once peeled they are considerably lighter – and still there are hundreds on the plants. There must be something about broad beans this year as I’ve been spotting them all over the place as the girls and I walk to the park or the shops. One house nearby has a veritable forest of broad beans in their front yard – I’d love to know what they going to do with them all (they’re only now starting to form pods as they were planted much later than mine). Here are a few of the things I’ve done with my broad beans.
1. They went into a hearty chicken and vegetable soup based loosely on this recipe though I added some home grown broccoli and some cauliflower instead of zucchini (just what I had in the fridge) and borlotti beans instead of soup mix. Once the soup had cooked for a couple of hours I gave it a quick wizz with the stick blender (it was still quite chunky) and added some cooked chicken (instead of adding raw chicken at the start) and some blanched broad beans which remained whole. It got the thumbs up from Mr Good, but as per usual Miss Two refused to even try given it was soup.
2. I made a broad bean and crispy bacon risotto
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 green onions, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups arborio rice
6 rashes bacon, halved
1/2 cup cream
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
300g fresh broad beans (the recipe said frozen), blanched and double peeled
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped sage
Bring stock and wine to the boil in a medium saucepan, reduce heat, cover and keep hot.
Heat oil in a large saucepan, cook onion and garlic, stirring, until onion is soft. Add rice; stir to coat in oil mixture. Stir in 1 cup of the hot stock mixture; cook over low heat, stirring until liquid is absorbed.
Continue adding stock mixture 1 cup at a time, stirring until absorbed after each addition. Total cooking time should be about 35 mins or until rice is just tender.
Meanwhile, cook bacon under heated grill until browned and crisp on both sides
Remove risotto from heat, stir in cream, grated cheese, beans and sage. Serve topped with bacon and flaked parmesan cheese.
3. But my personal favourite was a dish callen Spring-time Fettucine
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup broad beans (recipe called for frozen, obviously I used fresh)
175g broccoli (the last of my own plus some from the green grocer)
85g sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 cup frozen peas
2 small zucchini, sliced
10 thin asparagus spears, cut into 5cm pieces
500g fresh fettucine (I used spirals as I didn’t have the fresh stuff)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley (home grown of course)
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil
Preheat oven to 180 degrees, line a baking tray with paper. Place the tomato halves onto the tray and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 15mins or until soft but not collapsed.
Blanch broad beans in a saucepan of boiling water for 2 mins, remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into iced water. Blanch the broccoli, sugar snap peas, zucchini and asparagus for 2 mins. Plunge into iced water and drain. Peel the broad beans from the grey outer skin and add to the rest of the vegetables.
Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in the same saucepan as the pasta. Cook the pine nuts until lightly golden. Add the vegetables and toss to warm through. Toss the pasta through the warmed vegetables.
Heat the butter in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and cook for 30 secs, then add the cream and parsley. Bring to the boil then simmer for 8 mins, or until sauce thickens slightly. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the hot cream mixture to the pasta and vegetables and toss again. Arrange on a large warm serving platter and top with roasted tomatoes and basil leaves.
So having picked another 2 kilos of beans this afternoon, I’m after any other inspiring broad bean recipes. Please share!