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Created for us by Lindsey Dickson of The Eating Tree this delicious North African inspired stew is great way to use our Dried Red Haricot Beans and as Lindsey says, it's brilliant for dinner or for breakfast.

This is my version of a North African stew that is traditionally made with mallow leaves.

In this part of Suffolk where I live, Malva sylvestris, or common mallow, is considered a nuisance, self seeding wherever it likes in the wild and well tended herbaceous borders alike.

Personally, I am of the view that a weed is just a plant in the wrong place. I love its cheery mauve flowers mingling with the bright red of the poppies in the field opposite my house at the height of summer. The leaves are indeed edible, great for thickening stews, and the liquid from the boiled roots can be used as a substitute for egg whites.

However, it is the leaves of the Jute or Jew’s Mallow (Corchorus Olitorius) which would be called for in the original recipe. Although this highly nutritious ‘Egyptian spinach’ is cultivated widely in Egypt, Syria and parts of India, not unsurprisingly it is impossible to find in my local farm shop.

To make matters easier I have used two vegetables which I know and love and happen to have growing in abundance in my vegetable patch.

If you have difficulty sourcing Swiss chard, use just spinach.

The finished stew can be eaten hot with the delicious sauce soaked up with some flat bread. I even like it cold for breakfast.

Preparation time: 30 mins (and an 8 hours soak for dry beans) | Cooking time: 2 hours | Total time: 2 hours 30 mins

Serves: 2 - 4

Ingredients

  • 100g Hodmedod Dried Red Haricot Beans
  • 150ml Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1 Whole Green Chilli
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 100ml Passata
  • Black Pepper
  • 800ml Water
  • 125g Fresh Spinach
  • 125g Swiss Chard
  • 300g New or Waxy Potatoes chopped into 2cm cubes
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne
  • 100g Frozen Peas
  • 12 Green Olives
  • 4 Tablespoons Coriander, Chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

Method

  1. Boil the haricot beans rapidly for ten minutes then rinse and drain.
  2. Whilst boiling, blanch the washed, chopped spinach (and chard if using) in boiling water for 1-2 minutes until wilted then drain.
  3. In a large saucepan, heat the oil, then add the garlic, chilli, paprika, bayleaf, black pepper (about 20 turns of the grinder) and passata and simmer for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the haricot beans and the water, bring to the boil. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 mins - 1 hour until the beans are cooked.
  5. Add the potatoes, greens, peas, olives, cayenne, salt and half the coriander and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked, and the liquid has reduced.
  6. Add the lemon juice and remaining coriander and cook for a further ten minutes.
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