Broad bean pod puree

July 18, 2006

Broadbean pods bubbling

For a while now I’ve been meaning to do something with the pile of broad bean pods which are always leftover after a hearty bean-shucking session. A lazy Sunday morning has given me the opportunity to experiment with cooking these plump and hairy little critters.

Being a cook of cautious temperament, I went as usual for advice to my number one mentor in all matters vegetable, Jane Grigson. This recipe is more or less a direct rip-off of hers, although the nutmeg was my humble addition.

Broad bean pod puree
1. Boil a big pan of salty water. Remove black spots and stringy bits from the bean pods and thrown into the roiling water. Leave them until they’re tender. By the end I had some scum on the surface of the water which needed skimming off. Drain, keeping the water.

2. Pass the soft pods through a mouli-legume (food mill) back into the pan, using the attachment with the largest holes. Or rubbing through a sieve would do the job I guess. This will remove the stringy skins of the pod and leave a slightly watery mush. Stir this for a minute or three over a medium heat to remove the excess moisture.

3. Finally, I seasoned the mush well and added a generous knob of butter and a grate or two of fresh nutmeg. And that’s it, folks.

It tastes delicious, although you only get a small cup-full from a large pile of pods. We’re going to have it for lunch as a thick sauce with slabs of salty bacon and a clean, simple, crisp salad. And, hopefully, a glass or two of white wine.

And then I’m going to snooze in the garden – knotted hanky on my head and pale English legs slowly turning pink in the hazy London sun.

14 Responses to “Broad bean pod puree”

  1. guy watson Says:

    sounds hideous
    i seem to remember trying this myself once but can’t remember the result. how did it go down?
    you can boil the pods in water and use the stock to flavour sauces etc.
    Nancy, your distributer, was at the farm at the w/e and gave me the address and I love your site, though as a blog virgin farmer I have no comparisons.
    How would you feel about me mentioning it in he newsletter next week?
    not sure of the ettiquette or whether you would welcome the attention.
    which ever way you have introduced me to the world of blog and I will be a regular visitor

  2. Maths Chick Says:

    Guy, I thought the same about the broad bean pod puree idea. My initial reaction at Gastropunk’s enthuiasm for the aforementioned foodstuff made me sigh. A little bit like my reaction to his rhubarb soup idea (which hasn’t yet come to fruition, I am glad to say – and pardon the pun if you please). However on my return from the gym on Sunday, Gastropunk had just finished making the puree and dubiously I had a wee sample. It was truly delicious. Maybe I am slightly biased, broad beans being my new favourite veggie, but it was very delicate and the perfect accompaniment, alongside apple sauce and mustard, to roasted pork belly – our Sunday night feast. Try it. And, as my grandad would say “Waste not, want not”.

  3. gastropunk Says:

    Guy, we’d be very happy for you to mention this blog in the Riverford newsletter. We might even frame that edition and display it pride of place by the fridge. And welcome to the strange and wonderful world of the blogosphere…

  4. BB's Richard Says:

    Tom Good would be proud of you with your waste-not want not attitude to veg!

    Here’s another Broadbean question for you… With broadbeans you get the pod, then inside that you get the beans with their little grey/green jackets and then inside that the green beans themselves. As a child I was fed the beans with their jackets on, which seriously put me off the wee things! So the question is, do you recommend with or without jackets, and if you take their jackets off, what do you do with them – add them to your pod puree for a wee bit more je ne sais quoi?

  5. gastropunk Says:

    Well, those in the culinary know tend to argue that beans are far better out of their little grey jackets. These jackets are a bit chewy, get stuck in your teeth and have quite a strong flavour. The de-jacketed beans have a more delicate taste and, many would say, a nicer texture. Maths chick and I like them both ways. Sometimes we can’t be bothered to fiddle too much. If you think you don’t like them, skin them first – you might change your mind!
    P.S. BB Richard – thanks for the piccies and vids. They brought back sweet memories of those long, hot summers of the 70’s.

  6. Raquel Pinto Says:

    Hi, i’m a riverford-veggie-box-addict too and found your website in this week’s newsletter. I have been doing puree with the broad beans pod for a couple of years (whenever it is on season) following a luso/portuguese recipe. you can mix and match it with other purees – i like making a pumpkin/squash, or carrot or beet puree or even potato puree and mixing the pod’s puree. I find that using the food mill to take out the stringy skins better and less work than using a sieve (which i used for the first year). I like to cook skins, leaves and stalks that are so widely ignored in our society. My prefered is banana skin, i make cakes, cheewy cookies, gravy and cook it in the beans (and many other options). I’m an anti-waste veggies too lol. Tks for the lovely blog. I’ll be back. x

  7. gastropunk Says:

    Raquel, sounds like you’re taking the waste-not-want-not style of veg cookery to the extreme. Any chance of sharing the Portuguese bean pod recipe? I spent a month in north Portugal a couple of years ago and ate the most amazing food – particularly the pork, vegetables and pastries.

  8. Gail Hoyos Says:

    I have enjoyed your blog. Please take a look at mine about gardening

  9. Anna Says:

    Just thought I’d let you know that broad beans AND their pods are added into a dish we call “fricassee” here in Greece. Essentially a vegetable stew, in our family including artichoke hearts, peas, several heads of lettuce (romaine), and broad beans and their pods (provided they’re fresh and reasonably young/tender). All are rough-chopped and simmered in relatively little water into which has been added a generous bit of olive oil and of course, salt and pepper. Ah yes — and a nice bunch of fresh dill, chopped.

    Once this is all tender, we finish with egg and lemon (“avgo-lemono” — αυγολέμονο) which is simply several beaten eggs and lemon juice to taste, tempered and added and allowed to briefly thicken.

    A family favorite just served with fresh bread.

  10. Amy Says:

    Hi there,

    just wanted to let you know that pods of broad beans, aka favas, are being investigated for their utility with alzheimer’s patients because of their high levadopa content. So far, clinical studies have shown that eating 250 grams of the pods drastically shorts the time periods when people are out of it (obviously I am paraphrasing here, but there are lots of references if you google broad beans and levadopa or broad beans and alzheimer’s.

    But even for those who don’t have any neurological impairment, improving dopamine levels should aid in concentration, elevate mood and exert a small positive effect on libido.

    Now if only I could find the pods so I don’t have to grow them myself (the actual beans have only .02 percent levadopa in them).

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