This is our favourite way of eating up the spring glut of artichokes, broad beans and asparagus. The recipe comes from a charming book by Elizabeth Luard, The Flavours of Andalucía. The asparagus, because we have lots, and chick peas, for protein and to make it low-GI, are our additions to her recipe. Early season habas can be cooked in their whole pods. The seasoning of cumin and paprika makes this a Moorish-influenced dish, as to be expected from Granada. It feels like eating a bowl of spring. Habas a la Granadina
1lb young broad beans in the pod or 12oz podded beans
Bunch of asparagus
2 large artichokes or 6 tiny violet ones
6 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, skinned and chopped
1 large onion, skinned and finely chopped
8oz tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped
Small bunch of parsley, mint and bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
Jar or tin of chick peas
3-4 saffron threads
1tsp cumin seeds [Luard says ½ tsp but we like more]
1tsp paprika [½ dulce, ½ picante]
2 eggs, optional
Serves 2 as a vegetarian main course If the beans are young enough to use whole, string them and chop into small lengths. Otherwise, pod them. If using large artichokes, cut off the stalks, peel off the tough outer leaves right down to the base, leaving the tender inner leaves, and cut the artichoke into quarters. Nick out the exposed feathery ‘choke’ with a knife. If using small artichokes, wash and trim. If preparing artichokes ahead of time, put them in a bowl of water with the juice of half a lemon. Warm 4 tbsp of the olive oil in a large frying pan on a low heat, add the onion and garlic and let it sweat until softened and starting to colour. Add the tomatoes, turn up the heat, reduce it to a thick sauce.
Put the prepared beans, artichokes and chopped asparagus into a large saucepan, covered with cold water. Bring them to the boil then drain. Tip the tomato sauce into this pan with the vegetables. Add enough water to submerge the vegetables, tuck in the bunch of herbs, season. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer over a low heat for 30-40 minutes until the juice is reduced by half.
Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and stir in the breadcrumbs. When they are golden, sprinkle in the saffron, cumin and paprika. Remove the pan from the heat, and mash the spicy breadcrumb mixture together. Stir this into the pan with the vegetables, add the chick peas and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Just before serving, make dents in the surface of the stew with the back of a ladle and break in one egg per person. Cover, and simmer for 5 minutes until the eggs are lightly set. Alternatively, poach the eggs in a separate pan, and add to the plate when serving.