Sometimes, simple tastes best

We love vegetables, and we love pulses/beans. But, to describe this dish as ‘beans and cabbage’ is to under-sell it. It is the tastiest, Italian-inspired veggie lunch ever. In the original recipe it is made with cavolo nero, which we can’t get here. But we’ve tried it with practically every other green cabbage-type vegetable [not spinach] and it works every time. If you can’t get borlotti beans, pinto or haricot work just as well. It is the sort of dish that you can throw together without a special trip to the supermarket. Thanks to the River Café for the original version of this dish, which we have personalised over the many years of eating it. whole spices 3-12-13plateful 3-12-13Serves 2 as a main dish
500g cabbage [savoy cabbage, greens, brussel sprout tops, kale, cavolo nero]
4 garlic cloves
4 carrots
1 dried chilli
400g tin borlotti or other beans
Extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp fennel seeds [we’d run out so I used coriander seeds instead, fennel seeds are better]
400g tin chopped tomatoes
500ml vegetable stock

Peel the garlic, onion and carrots. Roughly chop three garlic cloves and the onion, dice the carrots. Drain and rinse the beans and set aside. borlotti beans - close-up 3-12-13Grind the chilli and coriander seeds roughly with a pestle and mortar, not to dust, just roughly bruised.

Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large thick-bottomed pan. Add the onion and carrot, and cook gently until soft. Add the fennel/coriander seeds, chilli and garlic, stir. adding tomato to the onions 3-12-13Next add the tomatoes. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Simmer on low for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. adding beans to the pan 3-12-13Next, add the beans and stock, simmer for another 15 minutes until the sauce thickens [below]. tomato sauce, cooked down 3-12-13greens in the pan 3-12-13Meanwhile, prepare the cabbage. Discard the stalks, roughly chop and rinse. Boil in salted water for five minutes, drain and chop. Reserve 4 tbsp of cooking water. reserved cooking water from the greens 3-12-13Add the cabbage and reserved water to the bean mixture. Stir and check seasoning. adding greens to the tomato sauce 3-12-13We like to eat this with griddled bread.  Cut thick slices of some rough country bread such as sourdough [or mollete if you are in Spain], rub both sides with olive oil, and cook in a hot dry griddle pan until toasted and marked with stripes. Rub the cut sides of a garlic clove over the toasted bread.

Serve the toast with the cabbage and bean stew in bowls, with more olive oil drizzled over the top. griddled bread & garlic clove 3-12-135 to remember
las alubias – dried beans
el col – cabbage
semillas de hinojo – fennel seeds
semillas de cilantro – coriander seeds
mano de portero – pestle and mortar

8 thoughts on “Sometimes, simple tastes best

  1. Pingback: Chillis | Notes on a Spanish Valley

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