Saturday 24 March 2018

Lebanese runner beans with tomatoes

Georgina Campbell

"I wasn't brought up with runner beans -- I have no idea why they never seemed to be around in Ireland -- and when I came to live in England I found most people scorned them.

Fresh from someone's garden or allotment, though, they are delicious. If you don't have runner beans, French beans are just as good. And this is definitely a dish to use up a glut of ripe tomatoes." Serves four.

You will need

6 tbsps olive oil

1 onion, roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely sliced

4 tsps ground cumin

800g/1lb 12oz tomatoes, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper

1/2 tbsp tomato purée

1/2 tbsp soft light brown sugar

Good squeeze lemon juice or slug white-wine vinegar

500g/1lb 2oz runner beans, cut into strips lengthways or in 5cm/2in lengths

Extra virgin olive oil, to serve

2-3 sprigs mint (optional)

1 Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and sauté the onion until soft and golden. Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes, until soft, then add the cumin, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Stir everything around so that the tomatoes get coated in the oil.

2 Add 75ml/2 1/2fl oz water and the tomato purée, sugar and lemon juice or vinegar. Keep on a medium heat, cover and let the tomatoes sweat. You need to turn them over every so often, pressing them to help them disintegrate as they cook. The sauce shouldn't be too wet.

3 After about 15 minutes, stir in the beans and allow them to cook for about 12 minutes. They will become really soft, but you can cook them for a shorter time if you prefer. Add more water or olive oil if the mixture becomes too dry. Taste for seasoning and add extra virgin olive oil and some mint leaves, if you like.

Runner beans are lovely stewed in olive oil, so cook as above without the cumin, tomatoes or sugar -- just add more olive oil and about 50ml/2fl oz water and cook until tender.

Irish Independent

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