Copy of Spanish heirloom beans
AROMATICS & FLAVOURINGS & SAUCES
Heirloom beans have characteristics and flavours that you do not want to obscure.
Typically, aromatics for bean and pulse dishes are as below:
• Dried red peppers such as nora, guindilla, choricero or Mexican pepper varietals ( see Cool Chile company)
• A small amount of pepper paste such as nora paste is ideal
• Pimenton: hot mild bitter sweet smoked and unsmoked
• Saffron stamens
• Paella seasoning
• Bay leaves or the Catalan herb parcel farcellet
• Dried oregano
Picada, majada, pesto or pistou are variations on the same theme of adding a “je ne se quois” to the dish. They typically consist of nuts, bread, spices and a liquid crushed into a paste and put in the dish near the end of cooking to give a fresh burst of colour, flavour, consistency and heady aroma. The ingredients are not always easy to identify but they offer complexity and depth to the dish.
Easy short cuts for flavour and consistency can be a small dash of sherry or apple vinegar or a spoonful of peanut butter or romesco sauce. You can also try:
• Grated dark chocolate
• Crushed almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts
• Herbs fresh or dried
• Olive oil, sherry, water
SAUCES & INGREDIENTS
Sauces, such as sofrito and fritada, can overwhelm heirloom beans and are best reserved for jarred beans.
• Grate fresh tomatoes into these dishes and ensure you cook down your own onions
• For extra luxury top with goats curd, labneh or cream
• Cook meats such as pancetta, chorizo, morcilla whole and slice once cooked to add to the dish
• Cooking chorizos and beans are a match made in heaven
• Sliced hard boiled eggs are a real classic Spanish topping to many bean dishes, do try them!
BEAN PREPARATION & COOKING
First you should soak the beans until they are plump and smooth. Usually, 12 hours is enough. Sometimes you may need a few hours more, particularly if the beans are a bit older. In warm weather refrigerate the soaking beans.
Heirloom beans can reach optimum tenderness relatively quickly so keep a close eye on them.
Cooking times vary due to the age of the beans, water hardness and how gently the beans are simmered.
Once you’ve cooked them a couple of times you'll get to know them.
Should you find the beans are simmering too hard, you can “shock” them (slow things down) with the addition of a little cold water.
Basque Purple Beans
Galician White Faba Beans
Catalan White Hooked Beans
Catalan White Navy Beans
Mongeta del Castellfollit
HEIRLOOM BEAN CHARACTERISTICS
New season heirloom beans should be considered semi fresh and stored in a cool dark place. They are characterised by their delicate skins, their ability to absorb water, their tender centres & their individual flavours. The skin and the pulp remain as when one when they cook and as one when consumed. These features come about when plants are grown in small plots in ideal conditions. They need generous rainfall, a mild climate, well naturally irrigated land that is rich in minerals and high in limes and calcium.