Epic Pulses

Cooking instructions and recipe tips

Epic Pulses

Cooking instructions and recipe tips

Welcome to the home of Spanish beans and pulses

"In some recipes only dried beans, chickpeas or lentils will do" - Monika Linton, Founder of Brindisa

There are some recipes in which only dried beans, chickpeas or lentils soaked overnight and cooked from scratch, will do. For example, in a rich stew such as a fabada or cocido, the beans need to absorb the stock and fats to an extent that ready-cooked beans cannot match.

The Brindisa Epic Pulses range are fantastic, high quality beans that are both accessible and delicious. 

You can see and buy the full range here: Brindisa Epic Pulses 

WHY BEANS?

In the UK we love baked beans from tins and fresh runner and broad beans in the spring. However, beans dried naturally on the plant haven't figured very highly in our culture since medieval times. These days our climate is considered too damp to allow most varieties to dry well in this way without risk of mould and mildew. As a consequence, we haven't retained the tradition of soaking and slow-cooking them that prevails in Spain and in the Mediterranean. 

In Spain dried beans are ideally bought loose from a trusted market stallholder, preferably local to the area of cultivation. When the beans are harvested in autumn you can buy and cook them immediately: an experience beyond compare. The virtually 'fresh' bean will cook through within 30 minutes and be as smooth as cream, with the tenderest of skins that melts away. 

In some regions there are heritage varieties that are so local you won't see them anywhere else, and they may have evocative names and nicknames that vary from village to village. 

In the last 20 years or so, Brindisa has predominantly sold new-season beans mostly to chefs, and very rarely beyond. Most people are yet to discover the pure pleasure of cooking and eating them. We are on a mission to make incredible quality dried beans and pulses a common and popular staple in kitchens across the UK.

"After my first inspirational trip to El Barco, as I headed back to Madrid I was firmly convinced that beans would one day be the next pasta in the UK. It didn't happen then, but as the health-giving properties of beans are better understood all the time, I can still hope." - Monika Linton, Founder of Brindisa

CHOOSING & STORING YOUR BEANS

There isn't an obvious way to tell by looking at a bean (unless it is excessively wrinkled and discoloured) whether it is recently dried and at its best, or older. It is important to buy beans from a reliable supplier (such as Brindisa!) who can assure you that they have been harvested in the previous season. 

In order to enjoy them at their best, consume them within a year of harvest; eighteen months maximum. If the best before is a year ahead, avoid them. 

If you can find them, it is worth buying beans in vacuum packs, as this is usually a good indication of good quality. 

Always store your beans in a cool dry place (the optimum temperature is less than 18c) not under bright lights - at home this could be a cellar or larder. Otherwise their skins will harden. A fridge is fine in the summer, as long as the beans aren't allowed to get wet. 

 

Brindisa Epic Pulses

 

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.

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.

When the beans are soaked, rinse and put in a heavy cook pot and cover well with fresh water. Bring the beans to a boil, reduce heat to very low and cover. Simmer gently until tender. NB Should you find the beans are simmering too hard, you can “shock” them (slow things down) with the addition of a little cold water.

 

TOP TIPS FROM MONIKA

  • When you're soaking the beans in cold water, make sure you do this in a spacious bowl - the water should cover the beans by at least 5cm - as larger beans such as judiones, can plump up to double their size. 
  • Long, slow cooking is best and a terracotta pot is often a better option than a metal pan. 
  • You can also use a diffuser underneath the pot to keep the temperature stable and even. 
  • Always cook beans without salt as it will toughen their skins. Only salt them at the end of cooking. 
  • If you're cooking beans and they are being really slow to absorb liquid; you need to 'frighten' or blast the beans. So once they break into their first boil, throw in some cold water to halt it. This allows the bean to begin to rehydrate better. Once should be enough, but if the beans show no sign of softening, you can repeat the process. 

 

Epic Pulse

Soaking time (h)

Pressure cooker Cooking time (minutes)

Hob cooking time (minutes)

Brindisa Epic Arrocina beans

12

13-15

50-55

Brindisa Epic Alubia beans

12

13-15

50-55

Brindisa Epic Judión beans

12

25-27

115-125

Brindisa Epic Pardina lentils

No soaking

18-20

35-40

Brindisa Epic Lechoso chickpeas

12

28-30

140-150

Heirloom Beans*

Soaking time (h)

Pressure cooker Cooking time (minutes)

Hob cooking time (minutes)

Basque Purple Beans

Alubias de Tolosa

12

 

60-80

Galician White Faba Beans

Faba de Lourenzá

12

 

55-70

Catalan White Hooked Beans

Mongeta del Ganxet

12

 

55-70

Catalan White Navy Beans

Mongeta del Castellfollit

12

 

50-60

 

*Heirloom beans can reach optimum tenderness relatively quickly so keep a close eye on them.

Brindisa epic pulses

 LENTILS 

Rich in iron and minerals and very versatile, lentils are a crucial staple food in most Spanish homes. Their cooking time is shorter than other legumes and soaking is rarely needed. The best ones will always hold their shape as they cook. They are equally good eaten hot or cold. They can be humble, but it only takes the addition of some diced vegetables and aromatics such as bay leaves, peppers and garlic to make something that steals the show at any dinner table. 

 

HOW TO CHOOSE & COOK LENTILS

Lentils don't need to be soaked before cooking but they must be thoroughly rinsed. Start them off in cold water - enough to cover - preferably with a finely chopped onion, carrot and celery, plus a bay leaf and some peppercorns. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat, skim off any froth that comes to the surface and simmer for about 20-25 minutes until tender, depending on the variety. 

Don't overcook them, if anything they are better slightly al dente. 

 GREAT RECIPE IDEAS FOR BEANS & PULSES

Beans with Lemon & Mint

GILL MELLER'S BRAISED BEANS WITH LEMON & MINT

This is a light, fresh recipe of beans braised with lemon, peas, lovage, mint and olive oil. These beans are wonderful on their own with good bread and a salad or with some grilled lamb or sardines. 

Ready in: 1 hour 10 mins

Cooking time: 1 hour

Serves: 4 people

See full recipe and buy the ingredients here.

white bean stew

FABADA ASTURIANA, WHITE BEAN STEW WITH CHORIZO AND BLACK PUDDING

A rich dish with saffron as a key ingredient that you can taste even up against the strong flavours of chorizo and morcilla. This recipe benefits from very long slow cooking and even improves after a night in the fridge. It's perfect to make the day before you need it. Just reheat very gently to serve. 

Ready-in: 3 - 4 hours

Cooking time: 3 - 4 hours

Serves: 8 people

See full recipe and buy the ingredients here. 

 

10 REASONS WHY WE SHOULD ALL BE EATING MORE PULSES

Pulses are the dry edible seeds of the legume family. Lentils, beans and chickpeas are now all considered superfoods. 

Here are 10 simple reasons why we should all be eating more and why they are so good for us!

  1. Good low-fat source of protein (especially for vegans!)
  2. Rich in minerals such as iron and zinc, amino acids and vitamin B
  3. High in fibre
  4. Naturally sodium and gluten free
  5. Reduce the risk of heart disease as they lower cholesterol and blood pressure
  6. Help prevent type 2 diabetes
  7. Improve digestive health and aid weight loss
  8. They also contribute to having healthy bones and teeth
  9. Help create healthier soil to aid sustainable food production
  10. They taste amazing!

 

HEIRLOOM BEANS

HEIRLOOM BEAN CHARACTERISTICS

Heirloom beans are a small batch crop that require a lot of care and attention throughout the process of growing and selecting. This means they cost more than other beans, so our approach, as taught to us by our Spanish peer group, is to use small amounts of excellent additional ingredients – don’t hesitate and splash out on the best beans for the best results!

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.