Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cookbook challenge, week 4: butter bean dip

The theme for week 4 was beans, and I struggled a little with this one! I'm pretty fussy with the type of beans that I like: I can't stand whole, squishy beans in dishes like baked beans, chilli, etc. I also don't like broad beans. However, I adore fresh, whole green climbing beans.

I planned to make a recipe from a Jamie Oliver cookbook, which was a green bean salad. These plans were foiled when the 3 shops I went to didn't have any beans - quite surprising, considering they are in season right now! Out of desperation, I grabbed a can of butter beans and hoped I could find a nice recipe. The can itself had a decent sounding recipe for a dip that sounded similar to hummous, so I was hopeful.

Stephanie Alexander came through with the goods, found in the cooking bible - The Cook's Companion. The recipe is for a white bean purée, using dried cannellini or haricot beans. I adapted it slightly to suit the tinned beans, and my resulting recipe is below.

1 tin butter beans (I used La Gina brand)
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup hot chicken stock (I used a single stock cube, and so extra salt was not required. If you use real stock, taste-test to see if you need to add more salt)
Juice of half a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper

Drain and rinse the beans.
Place in a food processor with the tomato paste and water, and purée the mixture well.
Sauté the garlic and rosemary in a little oil.
Add purée, stock and lemon juice and mix well over medium heat.
Continue cooking and stirring regularly until the purée thickens.
Season with pepper (and salt if required).

Butter bean puree

I was quite prepared not to like this, but it's actually very tasty and moreish! It's really cheap to make - basically just the cost of the tin of beans, and has a really genuine flavour, much better than supermarket dips.
It's quite garlic-y, so use less if you are sensitive to garlic.

Stephanie recommends this recipe as a sourdough topping or alongside grilled quail or vegetables. I had some alongside my simple dinner pictured to the right - a chicken schnitzel, grilled asparagus and tomatoes, and fresh avocado, snow pea shoots and mushroom. It was fantastic, and complimented the dish surprisingly well!

Simple dinner

Next week's theme: Greek


  1. The dip looks really good - perfect as an accompaniment! I can't believe you went to 3 different places and they didn't sell beans!!

  2. Yeah it's a bit silly. One fruit and veg shop, one organic fruit and veg shop, and one corner store with a good range of local F&V.

    The supermarket had some (I saw later in the week) but they looked pretty sad.