Spain is full of beans, this much I have discovered walking through garden allotments just out side of Barcelona.There are rows of bean structures dotted here and there, in-between all the other veggies. with all the foliage dying back and the beans dangling there, waiting to be picked. I had a moment of bean envy as we can’t grow beans that way in Ireland, it’s far too cold and wet to grow beans for drying.
The beans that are grown in Spain are not only eaten green earlier in the summer, they are also dried in the pods on the plants in the autumn and then harvested. I think they are probably enjoyed more as harvested beans than the fresh green kind. The Spanish kitchen is very good in the bean department and beans are in soups, stews with chorizo etc.,and also with seafood . Any of these these combinations are a delicious way to make little go along way.
The seafood combo is something that I enjoy and last night we cooked beans with pumpkin and clams.
If you can’t get your hands on any clams, mussels make a good substitute
Here’s the recipe
250g white beans -cannelini or butterbean – soaked in cold water overnight
500g pumpkin or butternut squash
1 onion- peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic – peeled and chopped
1 glass white wine
75mls olive oil
a good pinch of saffron
500mls – 700mls vegetable stock – use the liquid from cooking the beans and top up with water
a handful fresh parsley – chopped
Soak the beans overnight in cold water. the next day drain the beans and put them in a saucepan. Cover them with plenty of water and bring to the boil. Turn to a low simmer and cover with a lid.
Cook for about forty minutes or until they are tender.
Put the saffron in a small bowl and cover with boiling water, leave aside to infuse.
Heat a fairly large saucepan then put enough olive oil into a pan to cover the bottom and add the chopped onions.Let these sizzle away whilst you peel and chop the pumpkin but don’t let them brown.
Peel the pumpkin and chop into equal sized chunks – about 2cms. Add the chopped garlic to the pan with the onions, give them a stir then add the pumpkin chunks and a little salt and pepper. Cook the pumpkin gently for about fifteen minutes then add a glass of white wine and about 500mls of stock and the saffron infusion..Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about fifteen minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. Stir in the beans and let them heat through.Don’t finish the seasoniing until the clams have been stirred in as they will be a little salty
Put the clams into a large pot with a splotch of white wine. Turn the heat to high, cover with a lid and give a good few shakes. The clams are ready as soon as they open, this only takes a few minutes.
Stir the clams and the cooking juices into the pumpkin and beans, taste to check the seasoning and add more salt if you fancy.
Serve with a little chopped parsley