I remember being a kid, when my grandmother’s neighbour would give me M&S butter beans in a creamy sauce straight out of the can. It seemed like the height of sophistication to a young me, and I’d look forward to it all week. So here’s a quick recipe for you, which you can rustle up in no time with some simple ingredients.
Braised butter beans with wild garlic
• 100g butter beans soaked for 24 hours or a can, rinsed
• 1 small onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
• 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
• A few sprigs of thyme, chopped
• 60g butter
• 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
• 300-400 ml beef stock
• 2 tsp tomato purée
• A handful of wild garlic leaves, washed, or a couple tablespoons of chopped parsley
• A little olive oil
• If using dried beans, wash and cook in lightly salted water with half a teaspoon of baking powder or bicarbonate of soda for about an hour or until tender. The baking powder helps to soften them.
• Gently cook the onions, garlic and thyme in the butter until soft. Add the beans, carrots, stock and tomato purée, bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until the stock has thickened and coating the beans. Heat the olive oil in a pan and wilt the wild garlic briefly for 30 seconds or so.
• To serve, spoon the beans into a warmed serving dish and spoon the wild garlic on top.