Olive oil-braised runner and butter beans with tomato, feta and flatbreads
I serve these for lunch or dinner with feta, flatbreads and salad. They also make a good starter for a more substantial meal with good bread for mopping up the juices.
400g runner beans
150ml good extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
4 ripe tomatoes (about 400g), roughly chopped
1 tbsp red-wine vinegar
2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and black pepper
1 x 400g tin butter beans
15 green olives (about 85g), pitted and roughly chopped
1 unwaxed lemon, juiced
1 small bunch dill
1 x 200g block feta cheese
Flatbreads, to serve
Use a green bean stringer, peeler or small knife to peel the strings from the sides of the beans; some beans are stringless, so if you have bought this kind, then you can skip this step. Cut the beans into thin strips using a knife or a bean cutter.
Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for five to eight minutes, until softened but not browned, then add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
Add the chopped tomatoes, vinegar, runner beans, oregano and a good pinch of salt. You are braising these beans, so you want them to be covered in the oil and tomato mixture: if they are not, add a little water until they are.
Turn the heat down to low and cook the beans for 15-20 minutes, then add the butterbeans and olives. Check every now and then to make sure that the beans aren’t dry, adding more water if needed.
The beans are done when they are soft but not falling apart. Squeeze in half the lemon juice and grind in some black pepper. Taste, adding more salt, pepper and lemon as needed. Sprinkle over the dill, crumble in the feta, and serve at room temperature with some flatbreads for the best flavour.
IMAGE: Matt Russell