As I mentioned in my latest drama/ action pumped story Duck or Die ( that’s right, you have to go and read it now… Mwah-ha-ha…) my mother used to make – to the delight of my father – a wonderful haricot bean and beef stew. Here is a vegetarian dish I have created, based on the original, packed with summer flavours and memories. There are the beans, of course, and I used dried Lima beans from my Italian friend Roberto who runs the wonderful organic Mariangela Prunotto farm in Alba, Italy. I also found some licorice sticks in the health food shop the other day; when we were kids we used to buy these aniseed roots from the local pharmacy, and munch on them old day like cowboys on under a hot sun… Talk about a funny trend! I also added fresh local organic tomatoes, my mother was crazy about them at this time of year! I’d better get on with that recipe, which I realised is also vegan… What do you know?
- 300 g of Lima Beans ( soak overnight)
- 3-4 nice tomatoes, skinned ( 30 seconds in boiling water)
- 2 medium red onions, peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
- 1 small root of ginger, peeled and sliced
- a good pinch of Guerande Sea Salt
- a pinch of cumin seeds
- a pinch of dried crushed chilies
- Cracked black pepper from the mill
- 3 cl of Pastis liqueur ( Pernod, Ricard…) or a glass of white wine (optional)
- Fresh sourdough garlic croutons to serve
Using a sieve, drain the water from the beans and give them a quick rinse. With a good olive oil, start frying the beans with the chopped onions, sliced garlic and ginger; you can also put the salt, black pepper, cumin seeds and dried chilies at that stage. Keep frying and then add the chopped tomatoes and the licorice stick. Stir and pour in the shot of Pastis, the famous aniseed liqueur from the south of France. I use it sometimes in tomato based dishes. Cover with water and cover the pot with a lid. When it comes to boiling point, take the lid off and let the dish simmer gently for an hour. Give it a stir, and then add your thick slices of courgettes ( zucchini). Give the dish a stir and let it simmer again for another hour, adding – if necessary- a bit more water. When the dish is nearly ready, slice a slab of sourdough bread, toast it and grate a clove of garlic on it before pouring a healthy drizzle of good olive oil. Chop into cubes, and serve with the stew. Et voilá, Franckie’s Lima Bean stew… Enjoy!
Keep Well and Eat Happy