Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Baked Butter Beans in Two Sauces

2 cups dried butter beans, soaked overnight

1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 head celery, finely chopped
1 head fennel, finely chopped
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
1tbsp sundried tomato puree
1 cup vegetable stock
1 slice brown bread, grated into breadcrumbs
2tbsp finely-grated parmesan

1tsp cornflour
1/2 pint milk
1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1tbsp parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Bring the butter beans to the boil, and skim off froth. Reduce heat and simmer for an hour or more, until tender. Drain and refresh, then set to one side.

For the fennel and tomato sauce: Saute all the chopped vegetables in a large casserole over a low heat. Add tomatoes and turn up the heat; when it starts to sizzle, stir for a couple of minutes, then tip in the stock and puree. Transfer to an oven at 140 deg C for an hour. Remove and cool.

For the parsley and mustard sauce: Warm the milk in a pan, and add a paste made from cornflour and a splash of milk. Stir it in and continue stirring until the milk thickens. Remove from the heat, add mustard and, after it's cooled, stir in the very finely-chopped parsley.

To assemble: use two shallow baking dishes. Put half the beans in each; top one with the parsley sauce and the other with the tomato sauce, stirring well. Cover the tomato dish (and the parsley, if you like) with breadcrumbs and parmesan. Bake both at 140 deg C for 20-30 minutes, cool 5 minutes, and serve (with veggie kievs, potato dauphinoise, or baked ham).